Dozens of teachers have been camped out in front of Parliament since the approval of the new model for recruiting and placing teachers and promise to continue fighting until the minister accepts their demands.
“We are here fighting against the intransigence of the Minister of Education who has ignored our demands and here we will continue because we don’t want to lose visibility”, told Lusa Elsa Viola, teacher at Escola Gago Coutinho, in Alverca, one of the organizers of the camp that started last Thursday, the day on which the new teacher recruitment and placement system was approved.
The diploma was approved after a negotiation process that, for five months, sat at the table unions and the ministry without the parties being able to reach an agreement.
But the new protest by teachers and non-teaching staff covers other problems that led to strikes in schools, which have been taking place since December last year.
Behind this strike is the Union of All Education Professionals (STOP), which has already announced that the strike could continue in April, if the demands are not met.
The camp in front of the parliament also aims to “thank STOP for raising awareness of the importance of fighting for labor rights”, said teacher Elsa Viola, who has been teaching for 30 years and, according to her accounts and experience, will never be able to reach the top of the career ladder.
“I have now entered the 6th step and I have eleven years left for retirement.
The end of vacancies for access to the 5th and 7th levels is one of the main demands of the teachers, as well as the recovery of the six and a half years of service that were frozen, added André Pestana, leader of STOP, who was today support the protest in front of Parliament.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Education will meet again with the unions and on the table are some of the problems that worry teachers – such as bureaucracy or overtaking – and non-teaching staff, such as the need for regularization of the links of these professionals.
“Once again, the ministry will only present the proposals to us on the very day of the meeting, which is a disregard”, criticized André Pestana in statements to Lusa.
From the agenda sent by the ministry to the unions, there is a point about thawing careers that raises doubts, the leader of STOP told Lusa.
“The ministry talks about correcting asymmetric career effects arising from the thawing period, now we do not understand whether it is a matter of recovering the frozen service time or whether it is only a matter of correcting situations in which there were overtakings”, he said.
To Lusa, André Pestana again underlined that the struggles in schools will only stop when teachers and non-teaching staff so understand, remembering that there are “three central issues” crucial in this process.
The first issue involves giving professors on the mainland the same conditions that have already been given to professors on the islands, that is, the full recovery of service time, the end of vacancies for access to the 5th and 7th grades and the assessment quotas.
The second issue has to do with guaranteeing better working and salary conditions for non-teaching staff, increasing the number of workers in schools and their salaries.
Finally, he added, STOP requires a minimum raise of 120 euros for all people working in schools.
André Pestana’s words were supported by the demonstrators concentrated today in front of the Parliament who wore black t-shirts demanding “Respect” and “Dignity” and promised to continue the fight.
“This time nobody deceives us. If Costa doesn’t back down, we camp for the week”, shouted the demonstrators who, for now, say they will remain until the end of the week in front of the Assembly of the Republic.