The Education Unions have announced that the teachers’ strike will continue until their demands regarding both pay and the “future of education” are resolved. They charge that the way the Government reacted to their protest “leads us to believe that after this strike is over, they will go back to their old ways”.
The president of the Spiru Haret Federation, Marius Nistor, said on Digi24 that “at the moment, the message is that the strike will continue”, because the 300,000 protesting employees cannot accept a compromise.
“At this moment the message is that the strike will continue. Only our colleagues can decide something else entirely. Students should trust their teachers. We have always thought about them and we will always think about them. We cannot talk about compromise when we are talking about the lives of over 300,000 of our colleagues. I think the government should make the compromise, our politicians, in the sense that they give up their hubris and resentments and come and make a decision that should be important to everyone in education. Our politicians avoid taking radical decisions regarding the financing of the education system, which is why their credibility is low,” Nistor stated.
“Our colleagues have shown that they have reason to strike. As long as a normative act has not stipulated that important benchmark related to the salary of the beginner with higher education and we cannot talk about a salary scale that is caught in a normative act and with as few implementation stages as possible, it is clear that we did not achieve what we requested. Some are thinking about their vacations, we are thinking about what will happen with education further on,” he added.
What the education trade unions demand for the teaching staff?
- establishing by law that the salary of the beginning teacher should be at least equal to the average gross salary in the economy
- applying the salary scale for education in a shorter term than the three years announced by the Government
- salary increases even higher than in the ordinance given the other day
- granting, from January 1, 2024, at least 15% of the expenses of the consolidated budget for education.
“Stop scolding us, stop sending us to classes! Change your speech and assume that education will be, starting today, a national priority”, say the trade union leaders in a joint press release.
“The Federation of Free Trade Unions in Education and the Federation of Trade Unions in Education “SPIRU HARET”, on behalf of the employees in education whose rights and interests they represent, continue to ask the Government and the governing parties to assume, through a normative act, the article removed from The Pre-University Education Law and which was not included in the text of GEO 53/2023 either, but only in the Ordinance’s substantiating Note, according to which the salary of the beginning teacher should be at least equal to the gross average salary in the economy, the salary of all teaching staff following to be carried out progressively, in relation to position, studies, seniority and teaching degree. This attitude of the Romanian Government is interpreted as a failure of the Executive to apply the principle mentioned above in the new salary law,” they said.
“We warn that the education employees on strike are also dissatisfied with the Government’s promise to apply the hypothetical salary scale for education in a maximum of three years, requesting the shortening of this period. We mention that the wage increases provided for in GEO 53/2023 were also rejected by the union federations, after consulting the union members on strike, who considered the amounts too small. As I said from the beginning, this strike is not just about wages. This extreme protest is also about the future of education, about society’s perception of the teaching profession.
However, the way in which the Government and the leaders of the ruling political parties have managed the events that have taken place since May 10, 2023 (the first rally organized by education employees) and up to now makes us believe that, after it ends this strike, they will go back to their old ways, that is: they will continue not to invest in education and education workers. Here, gentlemen politicians, Mr. President, is the problem. You have not convinced us that after the strike is over you will really invest in this area.
You voted for nothing in the Parliament for a law that provides for the allocation for education of a funding equal to at least 15% of the expenses of the consolidated budget, if you are not going to respect it and you will extend the application of this article, as you extended it, for more than 10 years, the article on the allocation of 6% of GDP for Education. We say this because we have already learned from sources that you will not grant, starting from January 1, 2024, what the Law on Pre-University Education provides, because the budget does not allow this “expenditure”. But you have 6 months to prepare. You have 6 months in which you can reform the state, in such a way that, from January 1, 2024, you can allocate at least 15% of the expenses of the consolidated budget for education,” the trade unions added.
“We need education and education needs funding! Stop scolding us, stop sending us to classes! Change your speech and assume that education will be, starting today, a national priority! And not only for us, the employees in the system, but also for the more than 3,000,000 students behind whom you are hiding and whom you are trying to turn against us with your statements!”, the three trade unions concluded.