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Education unions ask teachers to boycott the start of the academic year

de V.M. transl/adapt. C.B.
Miercuri, 9 septembrie 2009, 17:19 English | Regional Europe

Unions representing pre-university education asked teachers to boycott the festivities marking the start of the academic year in Romania. The festivities are usually attended by politicians. The unions are unhappy about the debates on the Education reform, postponed by the Government for September 15, so that MPs could attend the start of the academic year on 14. Academic staff union members will decide until Thursday if they will accept the boycott.

Furthermore, the National Education Federation (FEN) proposes that teachers are not to attend the first school day. FEN leader Constantin Ciosu says this is a punishment for the MPs who will take a day off on September 14. He says that all state employees should have the same benefit. "It is not normal for some to work and for others to hold speeches about the 'wonderful' conditions created for the education", Romanian press agency Mediafax quotes FEN.

FEN unions say that they're willing to give politicians the chance "to not embarrass themselves once again with promises that cannot be kept, with populist promises". A FEN report indicates that the politicians should appear in from of the teachers after they enforce the law voted last year, according to which their salaries should be increased. Another law that FEN wants to see respected dated from 2006 and refers to the 100 bonus meant to buy training materials.

The union report shows discontent with the Government's intend to force all state employees to take a 10 days unpaid holiday. FEN members want at least 6% of the GDP for Education, "according to the law", and want to see Education made a national priority, "according to the agreement signed by the Government on May 6, 2009".

The unions believe that state employees have all the reasons to reopen the work conflict, will all the consequences deriving from this. FEN's proposal is supported by the Free Unions Federation (FSLI) and "Spiru Haret" Federation. The leaders of the two unions say that enforcing the new unique income scheme will diminish their incomes, not to mention that it would keep them at the base of the income pyramid. They also suggest politicians to not attend school festivities.

There are currently about 400.000 academic state staff.  

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