The union of secondary school teachers (OLME) announced on Friday its decision to launch two strikes that they will cause serious disruption of university entrance exams and affect thousands of high school students.
OLME decide for a 24-hour strike on May 17th, the first day of exams, while it proposed also another five-day strike starting on May 20th, 2013. However the final decision for the teachers mobilization will be taken on May 15th, just two days before the exams start.
OLME blames the Education Ministry for provoking the strike with its decision to submit the legislation during the Holy Week, when teachers were on holiday and without previous consultation with the teachers’ unions.
The decision of Education ministry foresees the transfer of 4,000-5,000 teachers to other posts and the increase the weekly working hours to two additional.
“This will have the effect that the hourly-occupied teachers in public schools will lose their jobs,” the president of OLME told media adding that this will affect 10,000 people.
The teachers have claimed that 1,800 work places will be lost alone in the Attica region.
The government threatens to issue ‘mobilization orders’ if the teachers would indeed launch their strikes during the exams.
Odd enough I heard today on television also lawmakers of the coalition government criticizing the Education Ministry decision without previous consultation.
Of course, it’s hard to lose your job when unemployment is at 27%. Neither it is easy to have to travel to your work place several kilometers per day, when nobody comes up for your travel expenses except yourself. Equally, it is not easy, to keep two households when the starting salary for a teacher is below 700 euro.
But Greece is in the course of austerity and “rationalization” is the magic formula, the oxymoron slogan of the IMF policies.
The aspiring university students will be he held hostages in the conflict between the teachers unions and the education ministry. But there are always “hostages” here in this country, when ministries are in conflict with professional classes. This time it’s the students, in recent past were the patients in need of medicine.
The strike action would be held, he said, to protest the transfer of 4,000 teachers to other posts and thousands more layoffs expected in coming months. Teachers are also seeking the revocation of a draft presidential decree that foresees a two-hour increase to their weekly working hours and they oppose government plans to scale back auxiliary staff hirings next year.
The government has indicated that it will take “all necessary action” to ensure that the exams go ahead and has not ruled out the possibility of issuing civil mobilization orders to force the teachers back to work, as it did with striking Athens metro employees in January.