Teachers in Romania plan general strike
Teachers in Romania will organize a strike on Wednesday, May 17, for a duration of two hours. The protest could be followed by a general strike next week, starting May 22, as strikers demand higher wages.
Earlier this month, unions in education organized a referendum on whether or not a general strike should be initiated. The leaders of one of the biggest unions recently announced the results of the referendum. Over 71% of union members voted in favor of a general strike starting on May 22. During the last strike, 18 years ago, 60% of union members voted to strike, according to Digi24.
Wednesday's protest will be attended by teaching staff who are members of the Free Federation of Teachers' Unions (FSLI). 75,400 teaching staff members will not attend classes between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.
Union members say that if they do not have discussions with the minister of education and receive answers to their demands by the end of the week, they will begin a general strike on Monday. Teachers claim that a teaching staff member with 25 years of experience earns around RON 4,500 (EUR 910) per month, while a beginner earns less than half that amount.
“According to the law, strikes are carried out at the workplace. However, it is good and recommended for students to stay at home as there are greater risks if there is no one to supervise them. Teachers do not have to supervise the children [during the strike]; they can stay in the staff room," said the union, cited by G4Media.
"We support the protests, but considering that students have the right to protest only if it does not affect class hours, according to current legislation, we consider the teachers' protests to have a tremendous negative impact on the teaching-learning-evaluation process," said Miruna Croitoru, the president of the National Council of Students, in a message sent to the press.
Last week, education union members organized a protest march in Bucharest, aiming to bring attention to the issues in the system. The protest was organized by the Free Federation of Teachers' Unions, the Federation of Education Unions "Spiru Haret," and the National Union Federation "Alma Mater," on behalf of over 350,000 employees whose rights and interests they represent.
The demands of the education unions include: increasing the salaries of education workers, starting from the principle that the salary of a beginner teacher should be at least equal to the gross average salary in the economy, with the salary of all teaching staff to be gradually adjusted according to their position, education, seniority, and teaching degree; creating a rule of annually indexing salaries for public sector employees with the inflation rate; and paying for the overtime of auxiliary and non-teaching staff.
(Photo source: FSLI Romania on Facebook)