Speaking on RTVS’s politics show ‘O 5 Minut 12′ (Five Minutes to Twelve) on Sunday, Education, Science, Research and Sport Minister Martina Lubyova (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) stated that teachers’ salaries might be increased as of September 2018.
“Along with Parliamentary Chair Andrej Danko (SNS) I expressed full support for an increase [in teachers’ salaries] in 2018. We’ll push for the September deadline,” said Lubyova, adding that it will be a matter of negotiation. The things guaranteed in the Government Manifesto will be met, assured the minister, adding that she’s ready to support teachers.
Education and Science Employees Trade Union (OZPSaV) head Pavel Ondek, who was also on the show, said that school unionists won’t oppose this proposal. “There’s still room for further meetings with politicians of the coalition Government,” he said.
Lubyova pointed to the fact that teachers’ salaries have already been increased. “The first payment was made three months in advance, i.e. in September 2017,” said the minister, who noted that two different points of view exist in this situation. “The Government views it as teachers getting an increase three months early. On the other hand, trade unions perceive it as something extra that doesn’t count and that what counts should come in January 2018,” she said.
“It’s open collective bargaining. Our current budget has been increased by €30 million so that we have the raise covered as of September 2017. The increase in next year’s budget amounts to some €80 million,” said the minister, adding that these are huge volumes. “The sector is huge. Any negligible increase in percentage has an impact on the budget. We can’t do it like this. There’s a need to seek systemic solutions so that teachers come under the umbrella of public administration and collective bargaining isn’t split into specific groups,” she said.
Lubyova pointed to the fact there are three kinds of employees in the school sector – pedagogical, non-pedagogical and professional, each of which has different tariffs and a different way of bargaining. “It’s difficult to push through any changes in a system like this. There will always be somebody satisfied and somebody not,” she said.
Independent MP Miroslav Beblavy stated that the gross salary of starting teachers is some €700-750 per month. “If we have a situation in which the education sector offers teachers €200-250 below the salary of somebody who, for example, delivers food in a van, it’s clear that it can’t work like this. We can’t have a high-quality school sector under these conditions,” stated Beblavy, stressing the need to change the system of financing education sector staff.