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Representatives of the three major education unions have announced a general indefinite strike beginning on May 22. This decision follows a referendum among teachers, in which over 70% voted in favor of it. The unions have recommended that students stay at home during the strike, and teachers' representatives have released general guidelines for the duration of the strike.
During a joint press conference, the Federation of Free Trade Unions in Education, the Federation of Trade Unions in Education "Spiru Haret," and the National Trade Union Federation "Alma Mater" announced that a general strike will begin on May 22. The unions emphasized the potential risks and the necessity for supervision, recommending that students stay at home during this time.
A two-hour warning strike was held on May 17, preceding the general strike. Students still attended school but no classes were held.
Edupedu.ro reports that students who attend school during the strike will be supervised by staff who are not participating.
Marius Nistor, the leader of the “Spiru Haret” Federation of Education Unions, announced that over 70,000 union members voted in favor of the general strike, representing 73.23% of the total. He stressed the significance of supporting teachers in this protest and explained to parents and students the reasons for the strike, asking them for support.
Simion Hăncescu, leader of the Federation of Free Trade Unions in Education, urged parents to understand and support the strike, while also recommending they keep their children at home. In many cases, 100% of union members voted in favor of the strike, or the percentage of supporters is very high, making it wiser for children to stay home rather than attend school without proper supervision. Hăncescu explained that the strike involves a complete cessation of work, with no student being marked as absent.
He stressed that if parents want their children to receive a quality education, it is essential to support teachers and end their ongoing humiliation. Hăncescu added that in 2023, a novice teacher earns 2,500 lei ($545) a month, which is unacceptable.
Regarding the legal aspect of the strike, Hăncescu clarified that it should take place at the workplace, but it is recommended that students stay home. He also stated that teachers do not have to supervise children and can stay in the chancellery during the strike.
1. All union members participating in the strike must be physically present at the educational institution and the notice should be labeled as "STRIKE." According to Article 234, Paragraph (1) of Law No. 53/2003 - Labor Code, republished with subsequent amendments and additions, a strike represents the voluntary and collective cessation of work by employees. Strikers must be present in the building according to Article 153, Paragraph (5) of Law No. 367/2022.
2. In situations where children/students are present in the building during the strike, they will be supervised by employees who are not participating in the strike.
3. Teachers who do not have scheduled classes during the strike will be present in the building, and some will ensure the supervision as established by the strike committee in the building together with the employer.
4. All individuals entering the building must present their ID cards to prevent strangers from entering and disrupting the protest.
5. Auxiliary teaching and non-teaching staff participating in the strike will remain at work but will not carry out their duties. They will instead ensure the security of the building, according to the document consulted by Edupedu.ro.
The demands of the education unionists are aimed at increasing the salaries of education personnel, given the social importance of their work. They argue that the salary of a novice teacher should be at least equal to the country’s average gross salary, and the remuneration of all teaching staff should be progressively adjusted, taking into account their position, education, seniority, and didactic degree, according to the source.
Another important point of the unionists' demands is the establishment of an annual indexing rule for the salaries of public sector employees, to keep pace with the inflation rate. They also request the granting of allowances for the specific working conditions in education, as well as the respect of the rights provided by the current legislation and applicable collective labor contracts. These rights include reimbursement of transportation expenses, payment of installation allowances, granting of additional leave, and monetary compensation for unused leave.
The unionists also demand an annual increase in investments in the education system, in order to improve the materials and school infrastructure. They want the government to abandon the EduSal application and replace it with software for remuneration managed and administered by the Ministry of Education.
Solving the problems faced by the education system and teachers is a priority, as education represents the foundation of society's development, and teachers are the main actors in the process of educating and shaping future generations.