Unions of state educators are fuming as Education Minister Costas Hambiarouis rejected their ultimatum to start dialogue from scratch in public school reform.
The leadership of OELMEK state teachers union says a joined meeting by networked public teachers groups has yielded no other outcome but the decision for educators to refuse to enter into dialogue with the minister on school reform.
An earlier proposal by the teachers, offering to re-engage with Hambiaouris in a dialogue with a clean slate, was rejected by the minister who drew his own line in the sand.
The minister says the government has every right to set priorities in education and discussion can be helpful as long as it does not undo those priorities
The minister says reorganisation of working hours is necessary in order to address educational needs, including a number of priorities set by the government that would undoubtedly reshuffle some working hours and shift duties within the system.
But teachers cry foul over the move, accusing the minister of not appreciating the challenges they face and calling on the government to consider redirecting funds elsewhere except in the area where it would affect teaching hours.
The minister views the proposal as an ultimatum saying the government has every right to set priorities in education and discussion can be helpful as long as it does not undo those priorities.
Teachers accuse the minister of destroying institutional dialogue between government and unions, warning that they will take political action.
Educators also say they will strike in September and also make their voices heard by participating in a demonstration outside the Presidential Palace in late August.