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Serbian teachers to strike over low salaries

published 31 January 2011 updated 31 January 2011

Teacher unions in Serbia have elected to strike after a string of failed attempts to negotiate with the government which has refused to engage in social dialogue relating to poor working conditions and inadequate pay for teachers.

Low salaries, pensions and social benefits, as well as increased working hours and larger class sizes were key issues that education unions raised at a meeting organised with the Serbian Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Education on 26 January.

Disappointingly, the encounter ended without any agreement on the teacher unions’ demands to increase salaries by 24.5 per cent or other factors.

EI's Europe Region (ETUCE) Director, Martin Rømer, said: “The daily commitment that teachers and education personnel make to providing quality education is being challenged by the short-sightedness of some governments which have opted to cut their education budgets, thereby downgrading the quality of education.” He added: "To withstand the direct impact of the economic crisis, education systems in Europe need more teachers and better school infrastructure, not cuts in education budgets.”

EI fully supports teachers and education personnel in Serbia in their struggle to provide all women and men, boys and girls, with free quality public education delivered by well qualified and fairly remunerated professionals.