FENPROF's Mário Nogueira
FENPROF's Mário Nogueira says it is "an extraordinary thing" to expect teachers to deliver a minimum of three hours education per day during ongoing strike actions, some of which began two months ago: Image: Tiago Petinga/ Lusa

Striking teachers challenge demand for ‘minimum services’ at schools

Teachers consider obligation to provide three hours teaching per day “illegal”

Teachers who have been striking – some of them since December – are now challenging the court of arbitration’s ruling that they should provide a minimum of three hours of lessons per day during strikes.

Mário Nogueira, secretary general of teachers federation FENPROF, backed by nine other teachers unions, considers the ruling “an illegality”.

In this context it refers to strikes called for Thursday and Friday this week in selected schools.

Says SIC television news, “According to Mário Nogueira, as the strike is just for a day in each school – Thursday, March 2 in schools in Viana do Castelo, Braga, Vila Real, Bragança, Porto, Aveiro, Viseu, Guarda and Coimbra and Friday, March 3 in Leiria, Castelo Branco, Portalegre, Santarém, Lisboa, Setúbal, Beja, Évora and Faro – and there are no exams or final evaluations scheduled for those days, assumptions that provide for minimum services are not met”.

He told journalists “”It was a surprise that we saw the decreeing of these minimum services, which on top of that are not exactly minimums, because they are the same as those that were already being decreed. They are minimum services that force all teachers to have at least three hours of classes per day, which is an extraordinary thing”.

Extraordinary also could be used to describe the camping of teachers outside parliament (to reinforce their struggle) and the posing of ‘lynchings’ on the steps of gagged teachers with their hands tied.

The teachers’ campaign for better pay and conditions has certainly become an ‘extraordinary thing’, and this far, there appears to be no indications of a breakthrough in sight to bring an end to it, and more importantly, an end to the constant distruptions in children’s education.

Mário Nogueira insists that the “strike will continue, because what is at stake is much more than a question of minimum services, and the government is not giving answers to teachers’ demands”.

New demonstrations are being scheduled for Porto and Lisbon, both taking place this Saturday, March 4, starting at 3.30pm.

Meantime, nine court actions have been lodged in a bid to suspend the order for minimum services – and other organisations are said to be delivering injunctions, says SIC.

[email protected]