President Marcelo
President Marcelo insists that the last thing on his mind is the dissolution of parliament. Image: Tiago Petinga

Teachers warned: Public support won’t last forever

“There is a moment when sympathy can turn against them” – president

President Marcelo has said today what many people may already have been thinking: the level of ‘public support’ for striking teachers cannot last forever. There will come a point where the syndicates’ continued refusal to cede on any points with negotiators becomes less than acceptable – and that point, the head of State suggests, is when it comes clear that children are losing yet another year of precious education.

Marcelo has warned of this risk for some time now.

Teachers however appear intent on digging in. Today has seen further district strikes – this time in Santarém – while the ‘minimum services’ that essentially mean very little to everyday pupils have ‘begun’ in theory only.

Tomorrow will see the ‘next round of talks’ between the government and syndicates.

And this is where President Marcelo warned: “there is a time when the sympathy that in fact there is in public opinion in relation to the cause of teachers can turn against them”.

Reports stress that the president “called again for an understanding between the government and teachers’ unions and expressed concern about the consequences of this prolonged period of strikes for families and students.

“When asked how long the education system can endure this situation, Marcelo replied: “It is not a problem of the education system enduring, it is the problem of being a school year substantially lost or not.

“And that is the assessment that everyone has to make, even for this: there is a moment when the sympathy that in fact exists in public opinion towards the teachers’ cause may turn against them… As everything in life, also in these processes, which are social but also political processes, there is a political evaluation that government on one side, and teachers on the other, and unions on the other, have to make”.

The unspoken message being ‘they need to make it … yesterday’.

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