Most-Hid: Teachers’ Situation Can Be Addressed before Election by Law

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Most-Hid chairman Bela Bugar (TASR)

Bratislava, February 2 (TASR) – If there’s a will to address the situation faced by teachers in Slovakia, it’s possible to do so prior to the parliamentary election (March 5), announced Most-Hid chairman Bela Bugar at a press conference on Tuesday, adding that the party has prepared an amendment proposal on the remuneration of employees doing work in the public interest that also includes teachers.

“Today’s extraordinary [parliamentary] education committee [session] could pass some rulings. We’ve prepared an amendment, and it’s simple. It only needs some numbers to be added in a table. But that is the responsibility of Prime Minister Robert Fico, to begin a discussion with dissatisfied teachers, and based on a compromise a specific number would appear,” said Bugar.

According to Bugar, Most-Hid MPs will attempt to gain support for the proposal at the committee session. The next step would be a Government resolution that would propose adopting the changes in a fast-track legislation process so that the amendment could come into force on March 1.

“Premier Fico said last week that this Government will make use of its mandate until the last day and will also adopt decisions. That is a very good declaration, but it needs actions. We don’t agree with the notion that the Government is unable to do anything for teachers now, and that the legislative process is closed. There are four more weeks to the election, so it can be done,” said Bugar, adding that Fico’s first government (2006-10) was able to change a law on citizenship three weeks prior to an election.

Teachers belonging to the Slovak Teachers Initiative (ISU) launched a full strike on January 25. ISU is calling for increases in the salaries of all teachers and other professional employees in regional education by €140 per month as of 2016 and by an additional €90 as of 2017. It also demands an increase in the budget amount reserved for education.

According to the Education, Science, Research and Sport Ministry, 58 schools are closed on Tuesday, representing 0.86 percent of the 6,724 schools in Slovakia, while 111 were closed on Friday.

Tuesday’s afternoon session of the extraordinary education committee was announced by its chairman Mojmir Mamojka based on signatures of Opposition MPs. Representatives of dissatisfied teachers, Education, Science, Research and Sport Minister Juraj Draxler and school trade union chief Pavel Ondek have all been invited to attend.

Fico responded on the same day, describing Bugar’s proposal as pharisaic. “Iveta Radicova’s government [2010-12], of which Bela Bugar’s party formed part, increased teachers’ salaries by one big zero. Robert Fico’s Government, on the other hand, has increased teachers’ salaries by 22 percent, using €480 million from the state budget in order to do so,” said Fico.