Bratislava, Feb 3, 2016 – Slovak teachers continue their strike, the committee of the National Council refuses negotiations about their demands
Slovak teachers continue their fight against the constantly deteriorating conditions in the Slovak educational system. The budget for education was lowered by EUR 266 000 000 (17,8 % compared to the 2015 budget). According to OECD, Slovak teachers earn only 57 % of the wage of other university educated workers in their country. The number of young teachers (25-30 y. o.) fell down by 35 % between 2009 and 2014. PISA results of our students are dropping.
For these reasons, The Slovak Teachers’ Initiative (ISU) was founded in October 2015 by teachers in Bratislava who invited other regions to participate in activities that aim at saving education in Slovakia. The total number of teachers involved in strike, which started on January 25th, has been 14 500 (out of approx. 87 000). More than 950 schools have been closed or affected by the strike. Over 300 000 lessons were cancelled and 130 000 students were directly impacted by the situation. Many schools provide only surveillance and/or babysitting services.
As the official union (Trade Union of Workers in Education and Science of Slovakia) is closely linked to the government (their president is politically active and supported by the leading government party), they do not actively represent the teachers’ demands. Unfortunately, the Government declares that the union is the only partner they would deal with and they refuse any negotiations with ISU.
Nevertheless, the opposition parties convened the Committee of the National Council of the Slovak Republic for Education, Youth, Science and Sports on February 2nd. The result of this session says that the government will not deal with the teacher’s demands until the election (March 5th), adopting a resolution which gives a vague promise of improvements in the future (2016-2020).
The dissatisfied teachers continue their strike (currently 7795 registered workers from 613 schools). They keep on participating in various events, e.g. Live Chains in 14 Slovak towns with over 10 000 people participating on Monday Jan 1st, a rally organized by students on Jan 2nd with 2000 followers and dozens of events around Slovakia. Another huge demonstration is planned in Kosice. Parents support teachers by founding their own initiatives, or even by not sending their children to schools which do not strike.
In the meanwhile, the mobbing, bossing and intimidation that seeks to suppress the constitutional right of the employees to strike continues all around the country, in spite of the fact that the President strongly condemned such practices.
The Slovak teachers continue fighting for their demands: to have the salaries raised by EUR 140 in 2016 and then by EUR 90 in 2017, toexpand the budget of the Ministry of Education by EUR 400,000,000 with an aim to erase the differences in the schools’ equipment throughout the country, and to pass an amendment to the law no. 317/2009 (Pedagogical Employee Law) that would reintroduce the option to acquire continual education credits, which may contribute to a rise in pay by evaluation of the teacher’s competences and skills.
Pic.: Schools with teachers involved in strike as of Feb 3, 2016 (see the PDF for download)
More information about ISU, its activities and the teachers’ strike is available at www.isu.sk.