Polish teachers go on nationwide strike
PR dla Zagranicy
Thousands of schools and kindergartens in Poland were expected to be closed to students as teachers began a nationwide strike over pay on Monday.
Photo: coyot/pixabay.com/CC0 Creative Commons
Nearly 80 percent of institutions have declared they are ready to take part in a protest of unlimited duration, the Polish Teachers’ Union (ZNP) said, citing referendums carried out across the country.
The education ministry said that 58 percent of schools had conducted a vote on whether to strike.
Under Polish law, a vote must be held in a school before a protest can be held, and a strike has to be backed by the majority of those taking part in the ballot. At least half of those eligible to vote must take part in order for the ballot to be valid.
According to the National Labour Inspectorate, just under 43 percent of schools were engaged in a collective dispute.
Last-ditch talks on Sunday evening headed by Deputy Prime Minister Beata Szydło saw the Solidarity trade union agreeing to government proposals. But the offer was deemed insufficient by two other unions pressing for a 30-percent pay hike.
The protest begins just before key exams at various levels of education.
The government has insisted that the exams will take place regardless of whether industrial action breaks out, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency has reported.
The strike leaves working parents across the country facing problems in arranging childcare.
The Rzeczpospolita daily last month quoted a survey according to which more than six in 10 Poles were against teachers striking at a time of important school exams.