Teachers on Strike
The tragedy is that teachers in Portugal have felt 'unrespected' and treated like numbers since the time of the troika. Image: Fenprof

Fenprof rails against Marcelo’s rubber-stamping of “unfair diploma”

Upshot of initial presidential veto “hasn’t changed a thing”

Amid the cacophony of soundbites around the president’s latest decision-making, the dilemma faced by the nation’s teachers has been largely sidelined. But it is hugely relevant.

Marcelo initially vetoed the government diploma on teacher’s progressions. He sent it back – much as he has done with the housing programme, with a list of points and suggestions – but now he has ‘promulgated’ the government’s second draft, which barely changes a thing.

In less than a month, teachers who saw the presidential veto as ‘positive’ have learnt otherwise.

And this morning, the nation heard from PS parliamentary spokesman Eurico Brilhante Dias that in respect of the housing programme, the government equally doesn’t intend to change a thing. “We will confirm the diploma as it stands”, he said.

In other words, presidential ‘vetoes’ appear next to meaningless. 

Teachers federation FENPROF has stressed today “the need to maintain the strong and righteous fight”.

This new diploma has simply “generated new asymmetries in teachers’ careers”, says the federation, and, it believes, “seeks to eliminate the six years, six months and 23 days (of service not accounted for)”.

Marcelo’s reasoning for promulgation second time round was that the government had left the door ‘ajar’ on this score; “not completely closed”.

But narrowly ajar, or completely closed, it is clear to teachers that this PS Socialist government has no intention of ever ushering them through the door…

Says Lusa: “The diploma enacted today establishes a special regime for regularising asymmetries in the career progression of kindergarten teachers and teachers of basic and secondary education in public establishments of pre-school education and basic and secondary education.

“The President of the Republic had already revealed that he would promulgate the diploma, saying he hoped that the next school year would be “less hectic” than the past.

“For Fenprof, “the diploma that supposedly regularises asymmetries in the career progression of teachers not only does not solve the problem of existing asymmetries, but also gives rise to a few more”.

The federation argues that “the diploma seeks to consolidate the definitive elimination of the six years, six months and 23 days of service time completed and not counted for career purposes; it is a diploma that does not recover a single one of those missing days and that maintains vacancies for progression to the 5th and 7th levels, as well as the quotas that generate tremendous injustices in the evaluation of teachers’ performance“.

Teachers continue to claim the full recovery of the length of service completed, albeit in a phased manner, writes Lusa.

“It is a pity that this problem, which is not the only one, but is undoubtedly the one that most unites teachers, remains, as it will prevent us from having, finally, a peaceful school year in which the struggle gives way to a serious and consequent negotiation”, warned Fenprof, which says it does not even know the final text of the enacted diploma.

When the diploma is known, Fenprof says it “will decide on the need to take a new position”, maintaining the fight for the full recovery of service time still frozen and for the elimination of vacancies and quotas.

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