Teachers’ trade union PSZ has called a demonstration for November 30, union leader Zsuzsanna Szabó announced on Friday.
Negotiations with the government aimed at pay hikes and reducing the burden on teachers have proved futile, Szabo said.
The government is not committed to solving the problems of the education sector, Szabó said. “Teachers are expected to resolve social problems while they are denied adequate wages or appreciation,” she said.
The strike initiative is supported by trade unions PDSZ, MKSZSZ, OVSZ, the Christian teachers union, as well as union federations SZEF and Maszsz.
Teachers Trade Union PSZ Calls for National Strike If Demands Not Met
PSZ deputy leader Tamás Totyik said that despite the government’s figures teachers’ wages “have never been this far from the national average” and added that the wages of career starters were below the guaranteed wage minimum.
Sociologist Elek Fazekas said that though teachers were officially required to work 25 hours a week, additional activities such as preparing for classes or supervising children more than doubles that number.
The human resources and innovation ministries said in a joint statement that the demonstration would “serve political purposes of the opposition” and those of “the Soros network” rather than promote the interests of teachers or children.
The ministries insisted in their statement that “more money than ever” is being spent on the education sector, including teachers’ pay. They added that the government had increased teachers’ wages by an average 50 percent, while teachers in vocational training would benefit from another 30 percent rise from January.
The statement also said that recent changes to the legal status of teachers would ensure “more flexible employment conditions” for them, which “the unions don’t like”.
Featured photo illustration: a previous teacher demonstration with umbrellas (2016). Photo via PSZ’s Facebook page