Teachers protesting in Faro last Thursday
Teachers protesting in Faro in one of the many actions that have been staged this year

School strikes continue as teachers and government resume talks

6th round of negotiations opens tomorrow; another demo planned for Saturday

Teachers syndicates will be resuming talks with the government tomorrow (Thursday) in an atmosphere of almost complete stalemate.

Despite the belief vocalised by President Marcelo that agreements were in sight, the reality appears to be otherwise.

Perhaps the only chink of light is that leader writers now (along with a good proportion of public opinion) are appealing for consideration for parents and pupils – the latter particularly who have had three years of education disrupted.

As many observers admit, no one can tell how badly the younger generations have been affected by the hiatus – caused first by the pandemic, and now by teachers’ struggles over pay and conditions – but they can see that it is time for ‘peace and normality’ to return to the sector.

There are so many obstacles towards reaching a deal (not least the teachers’ red line over the unfreezing of pay over six years, six months and 23 days, something the prime minister has said ‘will never happen’) that “it’s time for both sides to realise Rome wasn’t built in a day”, considers an editorial in tabloid Correio da Manhã today.

“Satisfying all teachers’ demands is a marathon, not a 100 metre sprint (…) If the education ministry and syndicates do not agree, let’s call a truce until they can get round the table with new proposals and ideas. It is not fair to further prejudice those who want and need to learn”.

Thus, the country’s parents and pupils wait with baited breath to see if the second half of this hugely disrupted spring term will see lessons returning as normal, or just more chaos and confusion.

Meantime, stoppages (the word used being ‘paralysations) have been scheduled for the talks on Thursday and Friday, and yet another demonstration has been called for Lisbon this Saturday.

[email protected]