School exams to go ahead despite strike: Polish education minister
PR dla Zagranicy
Crucial exams in Polish junior high schools will go ahead despite a strike by teachers, the country’s education minister said on Tuesday.
Poland's Education Minister Anna Zalewska. Picture: Polish Radio
Anna Zalewska was speaking after teachers went on a nationwide strike over pay on Monday, causing thousands of schools to cancel classes.
The protest began just before end-of-school exams at various levels of education.
Zalewska told public broadcaster Polish Radio on Tuesday morning that the government and local authorities were ready to hold middle-school leaving exams even though many teachers were on strike.
She added that several thousand volunteers had come forward to stand in for striking teachers during the exams.
Zalewska also declared that the government was ready to return to the negotiating table with unionists at any time.
Union leaders have told reporters that nearly 80 percent of educational institutions nationwide have declared they are ready to take part in an indefinite strike.
The education ministry said on Monday that 48.5 percent of educational institutions had joined the protest.
Last-ditch talks on Sunday evening led by Deputy Prime Minister Beata Szydło saw the Solidarity trade union accepting a government package of proposals for teachers. But the offer was deemed insufficient by two other unions pressing for a 30-percent pay hike.
President Andrzej Duda has called on protesting teachers to suspend their strike for junior high school exams starting on Wednesday.