The Union of All Education Professionals (S.TO.P.) delivered new strike notices between February 27 and March 10 only for the “first two periods of each worker’s schedule”.
The notices, to which JN had access, were delivered on Wednesday. On the same day as the meeting between unions and the Minister of Education in which the opinion of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) regarding the teachers’ strikes was released.
As JN found out, the first prior notices for the same days (between February 27 and March 10) will not have been withdrawn. These, like the notices given since the start of the stoppage, covered “the entire service during the period of operation, corresponding to the decreed day”. The S.TO.P. since the beginning of January it has been extended to non-teaching staff and specialized technicians.
In the pre-notices delivered on Wednesday, it is read that the “strike in the form of a national stoppage of all services, covers the first two times in each worker’s schedule“.
André Pestana held a press conference on Thursday alongside the lawyer António Garcia Pereira who provides legal support to the union, ensuring the maintenance of prior notices until March 10th.
“The S.TO.P. will not withdraw any strike notice”, he promised. On Wednesday, after the meeting with the minister, the leader of the S.TO.P. he stated that the opinion is “a handful of nothing” because only the courts can decree legality or illegality.
Garcia Pereira assured at the press conference that the opinion is “a mere legal opinion”.
“Even if the opinion is ratified – or has already been – by the Minister of Education, it will only be an instruction to the services, it has no external effectiveness. (…) The only body that can decree the legality or illegality of these situations or strike processes are the courts”, defended Garcia Pereira.
The opinion of the PGR, it should be recalled, underlined discrepancies between what was defined in the pre-notices and the execution of the strike just a few times ago, considering it to be a practice that could harm the strike from legality. The Ministry of Education announced that it was going to ratify the opinion, defending in a statement that the execution would have to respect what was foreseen in the pre-notices.
A statement issued by the S.TO.P. on Thursday morning argued that the strike decreed by the S.TO.P. “is lawful and not abusive”. And that the opinion of the PGR did not remove “any basis for the just reasons of Education professionals nor did it condition their legitimate forms of struggle”.
JN questioned the S.TO.P. on whether the second notices delivered are a replacement of the first and a consequence of the opinion of the PGR but still awaiting a response.