The Slovakian Trade Union of Workers in Education and Science (OZPŠaV), one of EI’s national affiliates, has announced the suspension of its strike after three days, due to the government’s willingness to engage in negotiations.
OZPŠaV is asking for an increase of 10 per cent in teachers’ and education employees’ salaries. Education Minister Dusan Caplovic said he understands the trade union’s demands but will not allow for more than a five per cent increase. Over the last few days, however, signals were given that the Government might be prepared to negotiate a higher increase.
“We are engaged in ongoing negotiations with the government,” said OZPŠaV President Pavel Ondek. “The OZPŠaV Council, the union’s governing body, will decide on the steps to be taken in response to any offer from the government.”
Support for action
Slovakian parents sympathise with the protest. That’s according to the November 2012 newsletter of Transitions Online. It runs a programme, funded by the Open Society Foundation, to train journalists and write on education topics and to raise public awareness on education issues globally. Initial feedback suggests that parents appreciate how difficult it is to live on the starting monthly salary of €360 for a kindergarten teacher or €508 for a middle school teacher.
“We are in solidarity with our Slovakian colleagues exercising their right to collective bargaining,” said Martin Rømer, Director of ETUCE, the EI European Region.
“We welcome governments entering into negotiations with trade unions. We can never stress enough how crucial social dialogue is for the on-going relations between unions and employers.”
Rømer also stressed the fact that Slovakian authorities must never lose sight of the importance of having well-trained, decently paid and motivated teachers to achieve quality public education for all in the country.