Romania: Thousands of teachers marching through Bucharest for better wages
On Wednesday, 6th November 2013, more than 10,000 Romanian teachers affiliated with FSLE (ETUCE MO) marched through Bucharest to demand better wages and working conditions and an end to political interference in education. Teachers whistled, held banners and yelled: “Solidarity!”, “Without education, any nation would die!”.
The Romanian teachers had various demands. First of all, they called upon the Romanian government to increase spending on education. FSLE is also calling for head teachers and principals to be appointed on merit and not on political criteria. As far as the wages are concerned, teachers complain that beginning teachers have a monthly salary that is inferior to half Romania’s average national salary which leads many teachers to give private lessons to supplement their income.
Simon Hancescu, President of the FREE TRADE UNION FEDERATION IN EDUCATION (FSLE) said that if, after this protest, the Government would not try to find solutions, all federation members will participate in a referendum to determine if they want to organize a general strike in education and when it would take place. "There are two options proposed by our colleagues: a general strike ahead of European Parliament elections or a general strike at the end of the school year in June, so as to block the school year." declared President Hancescu.
During the protest in front of Government, a delegation of FSLI handed to the Government an appeal signed by the 10,000 teachers present in front of the building. The Romanian teachers’ appeal demands an allocation of more than 6% of GDP for education in 2014, the amendment of the national education law, including the part regarding the Status of Teachers and, among other claims, an early retirement for teachers – at least three years before reaching retirement age – without reducing the amount of the pension .