By a Staff Reporter
ELEMENTARY school teachers will stage a 90 minute work stoppage on Wednesday to protest the employment terms of substitute teachers, their union, POED, said on Monday.
POED advised parents to take their children to school at 9am and not the usual starting time 7.30am.
POED chairman Filios Phylactou said that up until last year, primary education substitutes were appointed under a full-time schedule since they assumed the full duties of the teacher they replaced.
That policy has been changed, Phylactou said, and substitute teachers now cover just the teaching duties of the absent educator.
“This creates huge problems to the smooth operatiuon of the schools and despite POED’s warnings – which did not rule out strike measures – the education ministry has not sorted out the matter,” Phylactou said.
The only condition set by the union to resolve the dispute was the return to the previous regime.
“We think that not employing educators under a full timetable would raise various problems inside schools, with the most important being that of the children’s safety,” Phylactou said.
The change had been deemed necessary to be in line with secondary schools.
The Education Ministry expressed its regret over POED’s decision which will also affect children at state-run kindergartens.
In a written statement, the ministry said it had taken into account the observations of the auditor-general and the ombudswoman who spoke of different treatment between teachers in primary schools and their secondary education colleagues.
Taking their views into account, as it should, but at the same time recognising the differences between the two tiers, the ministry said it had tried to bridge differing views.
The minister gave the unions his proposal on Friday and asked them to study before sitting for talks with him after his return from a visit to Japan.
“Unfortunately, POED, instead of having a dialogue, responded by announcing a strike, without any mood to discuss the ministry’s proposal.”