Mário Nogueira, secretary general of the National Federation of Teachers (Fenprof), said that João Costa, Minister of Education, and António Leite, Secretary of State for Education, “do not know the rules of democracy”. The union structure will go to court because of unjustified absences and disciplinary proceedings against teachers following the minimum services enacted in schools during the strikes.
Fenprof, which is part of a structure of nine trade union organizations meeting this Monday with the Government, left the meeting with the guardianship. The meeting, in which the Union of All Education Professionals (STOP) was also heard, at the beginning of the afternoon, is a supplementary negotiation between the unions and the Government on the recovery of teachers’ service time. On April 20, the negotiating process ended without any agreement.
After leaving the meeting, Mário Nogueira told journalists that Fenprof would deliver to the DIAP (Department of Investigation and Penal Action) a “list of schools where absences are being unjustified and there are disciplinary proceedings against teachers”. “There is another opinion from the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) that says that unjustified absences and disciplinary processes should not exist, because the minimum services are illegal”, he justified. However, the union leader says that, for the minister, it is just “the opinion of a prosecutor and that it is not the position of the PGR”.
“The problem is more than a mere justice or court problem, it is a lack of democracy problem”, he defended. Mário Nogueira also accused the Ministry of Education of “discriminating against those who mobilize teachers”. “Fenprof is the organization that grinds them, that they don’t want, that want to discriminate and punish”, pointed out the general secretary of that structure.
Mário Nogueira referred that Fenprof waited until the last day of the deadline to ask for the complementary negotiation on the recovery of teachers’ service time, because it was waiting for the document that resulted from the previous negotiating rounds. “Mr. Minister said that there is no new document, because the document is the one that was presented to us in the first minute of the negotiation process. So what was the process for?”, questioned the secretary general.
Fenprof proposed to the guardianship the full recovery of the teachers’ service time (six years, six months and 23 days), but in a phased manner. On the other hand, the Ministry foresees a set of measures such as recovering the time in which teachers were waiting for a vacancy in the 4th and 6th levels and the exemption of access vacancies in the 5th and 7th levels.
“There is only one way to clear up the asymmetries in the teaching career, which is to count the length of service and each one to be framed in the career according to the length of service they have”, said Mário Nogueira, even before entering the meeting with the guardianship.