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14 June, 2024
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Teachers 'go slow' to show dissent

Educators go back to school on a slowdown as unions seek general strike mandate


State teachers in public schools will take industrial action by ‘going slow’ in the first few days back to school, as unions seek a stronger mandate from members by asking them to approve a general strike.

Following the rejection of a compromise deal offered by the government, teachers unions say they have no other choice but to conduct a slowdown strike at least initially, where teachers will work the bare minimum required as per their generic job descriptions.

The decision came down days after the government and unions failed to agree on a final draft regarding exemption hours for teachers who conduct union business during official school time.

The government had called on teachers to pick up the slack by reducing the number of hours they can be exempted from class duty, so that the state could save millions of euro in additional hires while promising to inject that money back into the education system.

Educators say government broke the law

But teachers accused the government of rolling out budget cuts and violating the law by not including them in the decision process through the dialogue process.

Unions are calling on members to report the government to police on the basis of violating the law

Unions are calling on members to report the Education Ministry to police on the basis of violating the law, essentially not allowing teachers to take part in unions according to the their view.

One of the union leaders, who has been transferred from Nicosia to Limassol according to social media comments, vowed to file a complaint with the police against the government alleging that a Cabinet decision back in July meant he would not be able to carry out his duties freely.

The unions will hold a vote later in the week, asking their members whether they give consent to the leadership to manage the issue that could potentially escalate to a decision to strike indefinitely.

Slowdown strike measures by the dozens

Current union measures include teachers not carrying out any tasks outside the classroom except on matters of safety.

According to the measures, teachers will not take part in any events organised by parents associations while they will also refuse tasks involving the library, theatre, and school celebrations.

Teachers will also stop communicating with the Education Ministry and school principals will not attend meetings which are designed to roll out the programme for the new academic year.

A total of several dozens of measures have been identified in union protocols, as OELMEK, POED, and OLTEK leaders try to minimise work that does not directly relate to teaching in the classroom, including calling on members not to participate in probes conducted by the ministry.

Teachers will also not organise or participate in school daytrips or take part in training seminars, whether at the local, national, or international level.

Cyprus  |  education  |  union  |  school  |  reform

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