Education International
Education International

Greece: Multi-bill threatens vocational education

published 17 July 2013 updated 23 July 2013

On 17 July, a multi-bill is expected to pass at the Greek Parliament under which more than 4,000 state employees, including teachers, are facing dismissal this year. EI’s affiliate, the Greek federation of secondary education state school teachers, OLME, has warned that over 2,500 teachers are facing an eight-month suspension on just 75 per cent of their basic statutory salary prior to their dismissal.

In addition, 5,000 secondary education teachers will be transferred to primary education.

Vocational education in jeopardy Vocational lyceums and schools will be particularly affected by teacher dismissals through the process of ‘sudden death’.

“With a multi-bill, the Government destroys three sectors of our vocational education including the health sector. Next September, 20,000 students will be looking for their vocational lyceums and schools and they will not find them,” stated OLMEGeneral Secretary Themis Kotsifakis.

“In this way, the government concedes a large part of vocational secondary education to the private sector. Further changes and dismissals are expected in September.”

Eroding democracyTrade unions have warned that the Greek government is destroying the welfare state and democracy to comply with the demands of the troika - the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Last June, Greece woke up without public radio or television services. On 11 June, the government announced it was going to shut down the radio and TV services of the state broadcaster ERT, sacking 2,500 employees, and becoming the only member state of the European Union to abolish the public service of broadcasting.

A civilian mobilisation order tried to prevent trade unions from exercising their right to strike action, eroding basic civil liberties and democratic rights in Greece. Despite this, massive protests are succeeding against the current austerity policies. On 16 July, thousands of Greek workers helda 24-hour strike to challenge government plans to cut public sector jobs.

EI solidarity EI and its European organisation, the European Trade Union Committee for Education(ETUCE), stand in solidarity and givetheirfull support to the Greek teachers in their struggleto preserve both public school and vocational education.

EI firmly believes that agood quality public education system should be considered as the government of Greece’s most important tool to handle the economic crisis and secure a sustainable future. Therefore, it urges the Greek government to abandon its efforts to dismiss thousands of teachers from the vocational education sector.

ETUCE has called on all its members organisations to urgently send messages of solidarity and show their opposition and defiance of the policies in Greece and send a protest letter to the Greek government.

Download here ETUCE protest letter to the Greek government.