Total of 1,773 Dissatisfied Teachers Launch Gradual Strike

Teachers launch gradual strike (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 13 (TASR) – A total of 1,773 teachers from 106 schools joined a gradual strike on Tuesday, representatives of the organiser – the Slovak Teachers Initiative (ISU) – told TASR on the same day.

Schools from all regions of Slovakia have joined the strike, with Bratislava, Kosice and Banska Bystrica regions having the highest level of representation. There are around 6,590 schools (of all kinds) and over 71,500 teachers in Slovakia.

One lesson was dropped at the schools that joined the strike on its first day. The dissatisfied teachers want salaries of teachers and non-teaching staff at primary and secondary schools to be increased across the board by €140 per month this year and by another €90 per month as of 2017. Apart from that, the budgets of the ministries of education and interior should be increased by €400 million in order to make it possible to eliminate gaps in terms of the equipment available to individual schools.

If the situation doesn’t change, two lessons will be dropped on September 21 and three lessons as of September 29.

“Exactly four years ago, on September 13 [2012), we joined a one-day strike and fought for identical demands that have still not been met. The Government has been ignoring them,” said Vladimir Crmoman of ISU. ISU representatives view the strike as being successful already, and they expect other teachers to join it gradually. They said that dissatisfied teachers are ready to hold talks with the Government concerning their requirements. “We call on the Government to meet our demands. We’re ready to discuss the legitimacy of our requirements at any time,” added Crmoman.

Education, Science, Research and Sport Minister Peter Plavcan (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) has already reacted to the strike, noting that teachers will receive increased salaries as of September. “The first two laws approved by [the current] Parliament concerned the education sector. One of them was about an increase in teachers’ salaries in particular, and we definitely want to continue with it, as it’s part of the Government Manifesto,” said Plavcan last week. Plavcan also said that he’s yet to hold talks with Finance Minister Peter Kazimir (Smer-SD) on increasing teachers’ salaries in 2017.

The strike is supported by neither the Education and Science Employees Trade Union Association (OZPSaV), nor the Trade Union Confederation (KOZ).