• Teachers’ Strike In Romania Continues With Thousands Of Teachers, Parents, And Children Protesting

    June 10, 2023
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    Protesters blocking the freeway. The symbol of the protest Source

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    Protests spread around the nation during the third week of the teachers’ strike. In Bucharest, about 25,000 people marched. Parents and kids joined the in support of the teachers in an effort to persuade the government to alter the laws and raise their pay.

    On Friday, thousands of teachers demonstrated in front of the government; the strike has been ongoing for three weeks. The teachers arrived in Victory Square with signs, whistles, and drums and remained there for over an hour before departing for the Cotroceni Palace. With slogans like "Shame on the Government, You Removed Us From Our Position," "Resignation, Ligia Deca," and "We Are Not Asking For Mercy, We Are Asking For What We Deserve," the demonstrators came bearing clear messages.

    While teachers were demonstrating in front of the government, new negotiations between the unions and the administration were taking place.

    After the unionists left the meeting with Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă, they addressed the new offer from the government: 1,500 net lei granted annually on October 5 from EU funds until 2027, as well as a 45% pay raise starting on January 1, 2024, which translates to an increase of 600 lei for debutante teachers.

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    According to Marius Nistor, the president of the Federation of Education Unions "Spiru Haret," following the discussions held, the Government came up with a new idea, in that the increase from January 1, 2024, should be 45% of the increases stipulated in the salary scales and 1,500 lei granted on October 5, money from European funds, money that will be granted annually until 2027.

    When asked if all categories of personnel in the education system would benefit from these salary increases and the amount granted in October, not only the teaching staff, the leader of the FSE "Spiru Haret" replied that "he did not go into details".

    Regarding accepting the government's offer, he claimed that he was speaking for a union structure made up of thousands of members who were the only ones who "must be satisfied" instead of expressing "personal views".

    Shortly after, the government released the draft Emergency Ordinance for public comment in order to adopt measures for the effective operation of the educational system. National examinations for the sixth grade will no longer be used as part of the project, and the oral exams for the 2023 Baccalaureate will be equated to high school grades.

    Teachers protesting in Cluj-Napoca Source

    "Romanian education is slowly dying"

    Many people who have spent more than one day on the streets protesting claim that they wish to act respectably in front of the students.

    Alina Durbac, a teacher in a special school, also falls under this description. The woman has been employed in teaching since 2009 and earns 3,000 lei annually.

    "Today, we protested, but not for ourselves; instead, we did it in support of the entire educational system. Because Romanian education is slowly dying, and it is unfortunate that we are not being heard, said Alina Durbac.

    The strike will continue

    The unionists declared they will continue this general strike in Education after consulting with the teachers across the country. This new offer of the Government was not satisfactory for them. We are talking about an annual bonus of 1,500 lei, granted from European funds, until 2027. More precisely, we are talking about those value cards with which teachers could mostly buy teaching materials, but also a 45% increase from 1 January, which represented the first increase from the Wages Law.

    Following the debates, the union members declared that the trade union leaders will provide the government with the following demands:

    Obtaining an increase of at least 25% for all education staff, which will take effect on June 1;

    The Salary Law will be fully implemented beginning on January 1, 2024, or at most in two installments granted during the same year;

    Maintaining the 1,500 lei each year (2023–2027) granted to teaching personnel, plus the 500 lei given to non–teaching staff;

    According to the Emergency Ordinance on Salary Scale, a Novice's Salary shall Begin at the Average Salary in the Economy.

    Thus, the teachers' strike enters its fourth week and poses a threat to the national evaluation and baccalaureate exam schedules.

    “The students are with you” Source


    Diana Livesay

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