The general strike in education continues on Wednesday, for the third day in a row. Today, the representatives of the Government are invited to the headquarters of the Federation of Free Trade Unions in Education (FSLI) for a meeting of trade union leaders. Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă confirmed that a meeting with the unions will take place this afternoon.
Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă announced on Wednesday, at the opening of the Government meeting, that he is not going to the meeting with the unions this evening and that he has ordered the formation of a ministerial team that will include the Ministers of Education, Labour, Finance and European Funds, and from the Prime Minister goes the Secretary General. “We hope that following the meeting, based on the honest and equitable dialogue, based on the real measures we propose, we will have an understanding and trust each other that this approach will end as soon as possible,” said Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă about the negotiations with the education unions.
Previously, Ciucă announced that he will have a meeting with the education unions this afternoon and hopes that together they will agree on a solution. “I had meetings with the leadership of the education unions, this afternoon (Wednesday afternoon, n.r.) we will have another meeting and I think that together we will agree on a solution, because I appealed under the conditions in which I presented everything what was done in this year and a half for education. Last year we allocated 2 billion more to education, this year 6 billion, plus the way we managed and will continue to manage the reform process through the education laws and the money that comes from the PNRR, of course, through our responsibility to solve the salary problem in education, because it is absolutely unacceptable for a teacher to start his career starting from a net salary of 2,500 lei and according to the new salary law”, Nicolae Ciucă said on Wednesday in Argeș.
The Prime Minister referred, in context, to the salary law, saying that it will be advanced.
“What we asked the representatives of the trade union branches was to understand that any intervention of ours now will have to be corrected afterwards by the wage law, which wage law we undertook to advance on July 15, together with the Ministry of Labor, to enter into a dialogue with all professional categories, with education and health as a priority, and in this way to succeed, based on the dialogue with the associative environment, by September 1 to finalize the law and enter the Parliament with it. Complementary to what I have mentioned so far, and you know very well, were the measures we took so that we could ensure the necessary bonuses for the beginning teachers“, Ciucă also stated.
Simion Hăncescu, FSLI president had announced that the representatives of the Government were invited to a meeting with the leaders of the three trade union federations on Wednesday, at the headquarters of the FSLI, at 17:00. “Tomorrow (Wednesday) there will be a meeting of all the leaders of the three federations and I have invited the leadership of the Government. The invitation is to the Prime Minister, to Mr. Ciolacu, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Labor (…) We requested, to be clear, what we requested last time: a normative act to grant a salary increase up to entry into force of the Salary Law. It remains to be seen if the Government will accept“, Hăncescu also said.
In his turn, the president of the Federation of Education Unions “Spiru Haret”, Marius Ovidiu Nistor, reiterated that the strike in education continues for now, the only ones in a position to make the decision to end it being “only our colleagues”.
“Maybe tomorrow the invited people, the decision-makers, will come up with a solution that will be acceptable to colleagues in the territory, a solution to our problems. We are talking with the leaders in the country, who in turn will have to consult their leaders and union members. Today was just an informal discussion and the fact that they will look for solutions”, said Nistor.
FSLI president, Simion Hăncescu, said on Tuesday that an extension of the strike in education for several weeks is not excluded, if the government does not come up with acceptable proposals.
Teachers’ rally in Victoriei Square on Thursday
Meanwhile, in a last minute decision, the education unions will organize a rally on Thursday in Piața Victoriei where 15,000 people are expected.
“Our actions aim to draw attention to the obligation to solve the salary problems faced by the staff in pre-university and higher education, in the conditions of the significant decrease in purchasing power, also determined by the increase in prices. The dissatisfaction of the education staff is also accentuated by the refusal of the governors to carry out real negotiations with the trade union federations in education and to adopt concrete measures to resolve the demands of the staff in the education system, including after the start of the general strike on May 22, 2023. education”, it is stated in the union document, according to edupedu.ro.
Iohannis: My hope is that it ends amicably
On Wednesday, President Klaus Iohannis had the first reaction to the strike in education, now in its third day. “Solutions were found for some of the requests made by the unions. they will be honored, no matter how the negotiations unfold,” Iohannis said.
At the end of the talks with the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is on a state visit to Romania, President Iohannis said his hope was that the education strike would “end amicably”.
The Romanian President also opined that the strike in education is a serious issue, that solutions have been found for a number of demands of the unions, but that it is hard to imagine that all requests will be satisfied from today to tomorrow.
“The strike in education is a very serious issue. I am very happy that the education laws were adopted in Parliament – a matter that is notable, for a long time education laws have not been adopted in ordinary procedure in Parliament. The demands of the teachers are to a large extent legitimate , easy to understand. I’m glad that the negotiations are really going on, in the coalition format there have been several meetings and my hope is that they end amicably. Everyone has seen the willingness of the government, the prime minister, the minister of education to support these requests. Solutions have been found for a number of demands of the unions. I have had a discussion with the leadership of the coalition on this issue, these promises will be honored, what the government has promised is possible will be done. And the unions must see that a negotiation takes place it happens in such a way that the parties meet somewhere in the middle. It is hard to imagine that all demands will be satisfied overnight, but the matter remains in the attention of the Coalition and there is a firm promise to work on the single pay law that will come with positive solutions and for employees in education”, Klaus Iohannis pointed out.