Romanian education trade unions decided today to call a general strike on May 5, 13 and 21, when pupils were to undergo the single subject examination, as the law concerning their salaries raise was not obeyed.
The measure will practically block the school year as without these examination teachers cannot close the grades for the seventh and eighth grades and the high school admission cannot be organized.
“The blame for this situation can only be laid on the Parliament and the government,” declared Aurel Cornea, head of the FSLI education trade unions federation.
The decision was taken by FSLI together with the Spiru Haret Federation, the National Education Federation and the Alma Mater Federation. University teachers will join their colleagues in the strike, also complaining about this year's budget, which stands 10 percent below last year's.
The education salary fund was cut by 811.9 million lei and the investments funds lost 676 million lei, this year's research budget is by over 70 percent smaller than last year's amount. Moreover, a singular payment law in talks now works against public employees in the education system and the law providing a 33 percent increase in teachers' salaries was disobeyed.
Trade union members warned that during strike days no teacher will be found in class and that if the Education Ministry finds satisfactory solutions, the examinations could be rescheduled for the May 28 – June 4 exam session.
Unions in education are unhappy that the promised salary raises have been continuously put off in the past weeks. Last year, before the Parliament elections at the end of November, the outgoing lawmakers passed a law granting education staff a 50 percent raise. The president also approved it, but the former Liberal government rejected it.
The new ruling alliance, including Liberal-Democrats and Social-Democrats, promised to carry out the raise this year. However, soon after taking the helm they sliced the raise to 35 percent claiming there is not much money left in the treasury from the former government.
Then the said raise was being sliced again and teachers were promised a small increase in April and another one in the fall. However, as April drew closer the money seemed to be less and the Cabinet postponed the raise to the fall. A few days ago it decided to put it off until January next year.
A teacher earns about 300-400 euros in Romania.
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