Fico: Teachers’ strike gets too much attention

THE ONGOING teachers strike is a “media protest” – and is receiving too much media coverage to boot, Prime Minister Robert Fico said on January 28, adding that the country’s security is his main priority.

Prime Minister Robert Fico with Nitra city Mayor Jozef Dvonč.Prime Minister Robert Fico with Nitra city Mayor Jozef Dvonč. (Source: TASR)

Teachers who are calling for higher salaries and additional funding for the education sector launched the strike on January 25.

“With 114 schools involved in the strike from among 6,700 schools in Slovakia, this represents less than 2 percent,” said the Prime Minister, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

He added that no occupation in the public sector has seen such a huge rise in salaries between 2012-16 as teachers.

“We’ve set aside €480 million to pay for salary increases for teachers during this term ... €480 million, that is half a billion,” said Fico, as quoted by TASR.  “Of course, I understand that they want more, everybody wants more ... we’ve increased their salaries, and want to do so even more.”

Another rise in the remuneration of educators will be included in the manifesto of the government which emerges from the general election in March 2016, said Fico. He emphasised, however, that there is no scope for such a measure at the moment with the election just 44 days away.

Fico went on to reject the notion that the funds earmarked by the government for additional security measures in relation to the migration crisis would be better spent on the education sector.

“We’ve spent €480 million on teachers’ salaries, while we’ve allocated less than €100 million to bolster Slovakia’s security,” said Fico, as quoted by TASR.

Read also:Slovaks are not afraid of migrants Read more 

The security of this country is the number one priority, according to Fico.

“I don’t want the mayor of Nitra [Jozef Dvonč] to have to set specific swimming pool hours for migrants with a different religion and other specific hours for the other citizens of Slovakia,” Fico said, as quoted by TASR. “I don’t want the Interior Minister [Robert Kaliňák] to have to address sexual harassment of Slovak women, I don’t want any terror attacks here ...”

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