The general secretary of Fenprof accused, this Thursday, the Minister of Education of “throwing fuel on the fire” by failing to resolve the problem of teachers subject to disciplinary proceedings or unjustified absence for having joined the Civil Service strike.
The head of the National Federation of Teachers (Fenprof) was speaking to journalists as he left the Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DIAP) in Lisbon, where, after notifying the Public Ministry (MP), Mário Nogueira went to hand over documentation on the disciplinary processes he says having been illegally imposed on teachers who went on strike in the Civil Service and who, according to the union and an opinion by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, did not have to comply with minimum services.
At issue is the strike called by the Common Front for March 17 and which, in schools, coincided with the strike for an indefinite period called by the Union of All Education Professionals (Stop), which was still ongoing. For the second, minimum services had been decreed, but not for the first.
According to Mário Nogueira, the inquiry that runs terms in the DIAP resulted from a complaint filed against the directors of the groups that marked unjustified absences or brought disciplinary processes to the teachers who carried out the Civil Service strike, despite the Minister of Education denying that he had given some guidance in that sense of punishing the striking teachers.
The Fenprof leader considers “inadmissible” and a violation of the law the actions of the various school principals who, from north to south of the country, disciplined or punished teachers with unjustified absence, but also accused the Minister of Education, João Costa, who knowledge of the problem by Fenprof since the beginning of April and still not having solved the problem with the regional delegations that proceeded in that illegal way.
According to him, situations of this type occur in places like Ovar, Braga, Covilhã, Marinha Grande, Montemor-o-Novo, Serpa, Portimão, Faro and Silves, among other parts of the country.
“The Minister of Education, who was supposed to pacify the sector, which, as is known, is in open conflict, succeeds every time he can to add fuel to a fire that is already burning intensely”, warned Mário Nogueira, who, on the eve of the end of the year teaching, does not exclude new forms of struggle if these and other claims by teachers are not duly resolved.
In view of the ongoing process at DIAP, Mário Nogueira says he hopes that “common sense prevails and that the Minister of Education does not discriminate” against the teachers who made that civil service strike.
If Minister João Costa resolves the issue, the Fenprof leader immediately undertakes to go to the DIAP in Lisbon and “withdraw from the process” which is being directed by the Public Ministry.
Mário Nogueira stressed that the minister “knows what the problem is” since April and that he only “doesn’t solve it because he doesn’t want to”, regretting that the situation is being used to “frighten” teachers in their struggle for the claims to which they are entitled.
According to the Fenprof leader, “for good or for bad” the problem taken to the DIAP will be solved, reiterating that the minister’s inaction in the face of what happened only creates “instability, throwing yet another conflict on the table” of the teachers.
Responding to other questions from journalists, Mário Nogueira also accused the Prime Minister, António Costa, of not having resolved the problems of teachers in seven years of government, namely that of recovering length of service, noting that during his term the head of the government only threatened to resign once when the Assembly of the Republic intended to count the length of service of teachers.