“Today we participated in a farce- we would like to wave black flags, but instead we light candles and call a warning strike,” announced Zsuzsa Szabó, president of the PSZ teacher’s union, immediately after another unsuccessful round of negotiations with the government, Index reports. Erzsébet Nagy, a member of the PSZP’s national executive committee, told Index that they would not strike for the first two hours on January 31, but would go further if necessary and hold another strike in March that could last several days.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
Strike talks continued Wednesday afternoon between the two major teacher’s unions and the government’s deputy secretary of state for public education. The main topics were the withdrawal of compulsory vaccination for teachers, and salaries, but union members left the ministry disappointed once again.
The unions, therefore, called for a warning strike, because as they put it, they were “running out of patience.”
We used to think that education problems could be solved at the negotiating table, but now we see that we need to take a much more serious step,”
said Zsuzsa Szabó, president of the PSZ teacher’s union.
Erzsébet Nagy, a member of the national executive board of the Democratic Union of Hungarian Teachers (PDSZ), told Index shortly after the strike talks: “Although we have explained the extent of the problem to the government several times, they see everything as fine. Compulsory vaccination will be maintained, and there will be no significant salary increase until 2023. For teachers this is unacceptable, and we don’t see the point in hesitating any longer, so we will take more drastic measures.” She added at the same time:
We have agreed to hold a warning strike on January 31 and ask parents not to bring their children to school, but the plan is to cancel only the first two classes.”
If no progress is made after that, another strike is being prepared for March 16, which could last not just two hours, but days.
“Who will teach tomorrow?”
This was the inscription on the banner with which teachers appeared in front of the Ministry of Human Resources (Emmi) on Wednesday. The question is also part of a nationwide series of actions through which the unions want to draw attention to the shortage of teachers.
We have reported several times that there is already a shortage of thousands of teachers from the education system, but the unions have also pointed out now that more than 6,000 teachers will retire in two years and no young people will follow.
Featured photo illustration: The topics for the written matriculation exam in mathematics are being distributed at the Ady Endre High School in Debrecen on May 5, 2020. Photo by Attila Balázs/MTI