The strike by teachers and school employees that started on Monday will be interrupted on Wednesday, November 28, at 18:00 for an unspecified period of time. This was decided by the union strike committee, citing continuing negotiations with government representatives that started on Tuesday as the reason.
The protesters have addressed a joint statement to the government and parliament in which they are demanding improvements in the education sector and a 10-percent salary increase. In their statement they demand the government to sign a memorandum with the teachers’ unions containing gradual steps over a four-year period that would enable Slovakia’s share of GDP spent on education to catch up with that of other EU members. The protesting teachers also demanded in their address to MPs that enough money is allocated from next year’s budget to increase salaries for all education sector employees by 10 percent. The government insists that the current budget does not allow for anything more than the 5-percent pay rise already offered.
Teachers’ union head Pavel Ondek informed the TASR newswire that a special council of unions will decide on further steps and conditions at a session due to be held on Thursday. The unions want to continue talks with the government that began Tuesday night, which have thus far brought no specific results, but no date has been set yet. Ondek concluded that on Thursday, schools should resume their normal operations and that the length of the interruption in the strike cannot be determined.
After the meeting on Tuesday, Prime Minister Robert Fico said that the unions have until Wednesday, December 5, to comment on the draft memorandum. However, he also warned that if any further negative information concerning the macroeconomic data arrives, even the government’s offer of a 5-percent pay rise could be revoked.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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