Teachers on Strike
The TAP banner in the picture highlights the perceived inequality that a government can believe €3.2 billion is needed to 'rescue' an airline that fails to shine, while it refuses to compensate teachers for six years, six months and 23 days in which they worked to educate future generations . Image: António Pedro Santos/ Lusa

Teachers strike latest: Ministry wants to wrap up negotiations this week

Government delivers long-awaited proposal, saying it wants decision by Friday

Teachers’ unions and the Ministry of Education resume negotiations today – over a new model for recruiting and placing teachers – against a backdrop that could be an example how not to conduct any kind of business.

State news agency Lusa terms it “an atmosphere of contestation”.

But it is actually a great deal more than this: teachers’ sense of outrage is positively molten. 

After months in which they have not received answers, or even much in the way of dialogue, the education ministry has finally delivered a ‘proposal’ for the way forwards, saying “we want a decision by Friday”.

Lusa goes as far as suggesting the minister has “announced” that Friday’s meeting will signal the “last round on the matter”.

Teachers are not so easily convinced.

Tabloid Correio da Manhã suggests “the syndicates say it is simply not possible (to come to a satisfactory conclusion) in such a short space of time”.

“They want syndical organisations to study their proposal, consult members and deliver an opinion in three days, so that the process can be concluded?” said a source in clear incredulity, referring to the fact that the 33-page proposal maintains aspects that teachers have already refused.

Adding fat to the fire is that fact that today’s meeting “will also be marked by the release of the opinion requested by the education ministry to the Attorney General’s Office to analyse the legality of strikes called by S.T.O.P (the most radical educational syndicate) and SIPE (the independent union of teachers and educators)”.

All in all, the day ahead will be a negotiational ‘minefield’. Problems within education persist: the court of arbitration has ruled that all pupils should be assured three lesson periods per day; headmasters have been ‘threatening to resign’ as they are being left with responsibility for guaranteeing this with staff who are still ‘technically on strike’ and not in the least bit anxious to cooperate – while the education minister insists his ministry “has made an effort to get closer to the unions’ positions”.

Updates to follow.

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