Teachers and government fail to agree on ending strike

DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

“The strike will have to continue until the Seimas starts its work. If the government cannot meet our demands, we will have to wait for the parliament,” said Andrius Navickas, chairman of the Education Workers’ Union, on Monday.

Teachers’ representatives met with government officials on Monday morning to continue negotiations on unions’ demands that include pay rise and review of the education system funding.

Unions demand that teachers’ wages be incrementally raised staring this September. They also want to scrap a measure, introduced as part of an austerity package in 2009, which allows differentiating pay for similar workload in the education system.

The Ministry of Education and Science has said it can set aside €5 million to raise wages by 1.5%, on average, as of this September. Any more would require revising the national budget and would therefore have to be voted on by parliament.

“The ministry keeps offering to find €5 million, but they don’t want to make any commitments, not even on that. I think that the €5 million solves nothing, as there will be no changes, unless we revise the funding system, cut the number of pupils in classes,” Navickas said.

“The strike is definitely on, even though the government has been trying hard to convince us [to break it] since Friday. But they do not want to tackle the root of the problem, only the consequences,” he added.

The strike, which started on Monday, affects 233 education institutions across the country, representing about a tenth of all schools in the country, the Ministry of Education and Science said.

Teachers at some of those schools say they will continue to strike at least until Wednesday, when another round of talks are to begin.

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