Around 20,000 education unionists, educators, and concerned citizens protested on May 10th in the Romanian capital city of Bucharest to demand increased investment in education, joining the Education International (EI) “Go Public! Fund Education” campaign.
Affiliates from EI member organisations – Federația sindicatelor libere din învățământ - FSLI (Federation of Free Trade Unions in Education) and Federația Sindicatelor din Educație “Spiru Haret” - FSE Spiru Haret (Federation of Trade Unions in Education Spiru Haret) mobilised and joined the action. They protested the austerity measures imposed by the government, the wage freeze, the freezing of positions, and the lack of real reforms.
Real solutions to the main issues of the Romanian education system
FSLI Board member Adrian Voica reiterated the following key union demands:
- The increase of salaries and their indexation to the rate of inflation.
- The payment of overtime teaching hours.
- The recognition of occupational diseases.
- The allocation of 6% of gross domestic product to education, in accordance with the National Education Law.
Voica stressed: “As education unions, we organised this demonstration to raise awareness of the issues the Romanian education system is facing. We urge the government to increase annual investment in education, improve educators’ material conditions, and enhance education infrastructure.”
Education bills are on the agenda of the Chamber of Deputies and will be submitted to a first vote in Parliament.
“Go Public! Fund Education”
This industrial action organised by Romanian education unions is in line with the EI new campaign “Go Public! Fund Education”.
The campaign is an urgent call for governments to invest in public education, a fundamental human right and public good, and to invest more in teachers, the single most important factor in achieving quality education.
“This means guaranteeing labour rights and ensuring good working conditions, as well as manageable workloads and competitive salaries for teachers and education workers. It also means valuing teachers, respecting teachers, ensuring they are central to decision-making, and trusting their pedagogical expertise,” stated EI General Secretary Davis Edwards. “We fully support our Romanian colleagues.”
EI’s European region, the European Trade Union Committee for Education, also stands in solidarity with FSLI and FSE Spiru Haret.
Romanian unions have also launched a call for a general strike in education throughout Romania for May 22nd. EI will continue to monitor the situation of educators and unions in the country.