Teachers on strike
Scenes from Lisbon earlier this month when thousands took part in demo organised by S.T.O.P. Photo: António Cotrim/ Lusa

S.T.O.P. calls fresh national protest for January 28

“We have to fill Lisbon again before February 1” – S.T.O.P. leader André Pestana

S.T.O.P. (the syndicate of all Portuguese teachers) has announced plans today for a fresh demonstration in Lisbon on January 28, in response to the Ministry of Education’s call for the definition of minimum services in schools during strikes.

A demo called by the syndicate “drew tens of thousands of teachers and others from across the country” on January 14, writes Lusa.

But S.T.O.P. André Pestana is clearly not satisfied. Speaking at a gathering in Lisbon today, he appealed to teachers, non-teaching staff and even police officers on duty nearby to join him on a march to the Ministry of Education, where negotiations are being held between the government and unions over strikes that have, in many cases, completely disrupted the functioning of schools in recent weeks.

Revealing that he has received a call from the ministry to come in for a meeting on this afternoon to discuss minimum services from February 1, Pestana issued a challenge to his members: “We have to fill Lisbon again before February 1! Aim for Saturday 28th, before minimum services start, again from Marques (de Pombal square) to Terreiro do Paço.”

With so many parents now well past their wits’ ends with these strikes, it remains to be seen if S.T.O.P.’s next demo musters the same kind of support.

President Marcelo is certainly doing what he can to bring both sides together. Reports this morning say he does not want to see this 2º school period “substantially lost” (as it is being at the moment. According to Expresso today, “there are hundreds of pupils who have been without classes since the beginning of December”).

All eyes therefore are on the meeting later this afternoon, bringing together FENPROF and S.T.O.P. with the latter syndicate’s intentions already crystal clear.