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Increasing teachers’ salaries might be problematic, says Kažimír

Slovakia’s government will increase the salaries of teachers by 5 percent, as was promised by the previous cabinet of Iveta Radičová. Yet, the increase by 10 percent, as is proposed by the trade unions that organised a nationwide strike on Thursday, September 13, is rather problematic, said Finance Minister Peter Kažimír during a political talk show O 5 minút 12 broadcast by the Slovak Television (STV).

Slovakia’s government will increase the salaries of teachers by 5 percent, as was promised by the previous cabinet of Iveta Radičová. Yet, the increase by 10 percent, as is proposed by the trade unions that organised a nationwide strike on Thursday, September 13, is rather problematic, said Finance Minister Peter Kažimír during a political talk show O 5 minút 12 broadcast by the Slovak Television (STV).

The feasibility of a 10-percent hike will become clearer at the turn of September and October, when individual demands of the ministries beyond the funds outlined in the first draft of the 2013 state budget will be available, Kažimír explained.

“We have time until October 10, when the budget will be debated at a government session,” said the finance minister, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

He stressed that the government has promised to keep its international commitments to squeeze the public finance deficit under 3 percent of GDP in 2013. Yet, in order to achieve this, it still needs an extra €630 million.

“A 10-percent increase in the salaries of employees in education would represent additional expenditures amounting to €180 million, of which €140 million would come from the state budget,” Kažimír said, adding that he cannot guarantee such a salary hike.

Yet, head of the trade unionists Pavol Ondek said in the political talk show V politike broadcast by the TA3 private news channel that they will not accept anything lower than a 10-percent increase.

“It is the minimum. It would be better if the government proposes more,” Ondek said, as quoted by TASR.

Education Minister Dušan Čaplovič replied that a proposal to increase the salaries of teachers and the funding of other priorities in education has been with the Finance Ministry for at least six weeks. He noted that the Education Ministry’s budget is tight, and that the €100 million required to increase salaries as demanded by teachers will only be found with difficulty, TASR wrote.

At the same time, Čaplovič said that the demand for funds for education to be increased to 6 percent of GDP is unrealistic. If this has not been achieved over the past 20 years, it can hardly be carried out all at once. He conceded that funding might be increased from the current 3.5-4 percent to 4.5 percent at most.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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