Teachers on strike
Image: Paul Cunha/ Lusa

Striking teachers call on European Commission to help broker deal with government

Nine trade unions mean to highlight “persistent inequalities” perpetuated by political leaders

Striking teachers from the platform of nine syndicates are taking their issues with the government to the European Commission representation in Lisbon

The intention of the meeting scheduled for 3pm tomorrow is to ask the commission “to intervene with the Portuguese government”, with a view to finally coming to a satisfactory agreement.

According to information from the National Federation of Education (FNE), the nine union organisations will be received by the coordinator and deputy coordinator of the European Commission’s Lisbon representation, to whom they will report “persistent inequalities”.

“In particular in relation to teachers with fixed-term contracts, but also among teachers on the permanent staff, with overtaking in the career and in competitions for teacher placement”, said the federation in a statement.

The syndicates will also address other issues such as “restrictions on the exercise of trade union activity/ the right to strike, with some schools imposing minimum service requirements when trade union meetings are being held”.

Syndicates say there is “room for diligence that the European bodies could develop”, despite accepting that “problems that affect teachers have to be resolved by national authorities, namely the government and parliament”.

“In relation to the European Parliament, contacts will be made through the political parties that elected members of the European Parliament, and meetings have already been requested to all of them. 

“This meeting (tomorrow) is intended to send information to the European Commission, requesting an intervention with the Portuguese government”, says a statement from FNE.

For the unions, recourse to European legal entities will only be possible after national avenues have been exhausted, says Lusa.

The platform includes ASPL – Trade Union Association of Graduate Teachers, Fenprof, the National Teachers Federation, Pró-Ordem, SINDEP, the National and Democratic Teachers Union, SIPE, the Independent Union of Teachers and SPLIU, the National Union of Polytechnic and University Graduates.

Meantime, last night saw hundreds of teachers demonstrating in Lisbon, with a slow march from Almada to the 25 de Abril bridge. The Algarve also saw protests, with slow streams of cars leaving Lagos and Albufeira, converging on Portimão.

Source: LUSA