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Teachers' strike to remain on hold

The strike by Slovak school employees remains suspended and will resume only if the Education Ministry does not include the teachers' unions' demands in its plans for the development of the education sector due to be submitted to parliament in March, union leader Pavel Ondek said on January 10. Ondek described an initiative by the New Teachers' Trade Union – a smaller grouping – to hold a strike during the forthcoming school-leaving examinations at secondary schools and Monitor tests at elementary schools as "non-systematic and inappropriate".

The strike by Slovak school employees remains suspended and will resume only if the Education Ministry does not include the teachers' unions' demands in its plans for the development of the education sector due to be submitted to parliament in March, union leader Pavel Ondek said on January 10. Ondek described an initiative by the New Teachers' Trade Union – a smaller grouping – to hold a strike during the forthcoming school-leaving examinations at secondary schools and Monitor tests at elementary schools as "non-systematic and inappropriate".

"The strike committee recommends that our members weigh whether or not they will take part in the [New Teachers' Trade Union] strike, because we don't want to pose a threat to students and parents, because we know that they supported our strike [in late November and early December]," Ondek said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. The teachers' unions are demanding, among other things, that their members' salaries be increased this year by 10 percent – as opposed to the 5 percent offered so far – and for negotiations on this to be held directly with the Finance Ministry.

The official ‘old’ unions did not follow a call by several schools, mainly in Bratislava, to continue a so-called relay strike, the Sme daily wrote on January 11. Instead, union leaders voted to seek changes in the education system via participation in sessions of the Council for Systemic Changes in Education, an advisory body to the Education Ministry. However, the head of the New Teachers' Trade Union, Ľudovít Sebeledi, commented that this development only confirmed the need for a new organisation to be established. The Education Ministry says it is satisfied with developments, announcing the preparation of moves that to end what it called the “20-year stagnation in the sector”, Sme reported.

Sources: TASR, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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