By Evie Andreou
THE teacher’s walkout was unjustified, Education minister Costas Kadis said yesterday, adding that it caused inconvenience “for no reason.”
The teachers’ union POED held a 90-minute-work stoppage to protest the ministry’s decision to reduce the pay for substitute teachers.
Up until last year, primary school substitutes were paid for a full-time schedule regardless if they were teaching lesser hours, but that policy was revised and substitute teachers are now paid only for the hours they teach.
“The ministry’s formula is not very far from what POED wants, but what surprised me is that instead of submitting their concerns and objections to the ministry’s proposal, out of the blue they announced measures and at the same time they said that the dialogue continues,” Kadis said.
The minister said that before the wage cut was put to force, there was inequality between teachers in primary schools and their secondary education colleagues, since higher education substitutes are paid the exact amount of hours they teach.
“The employment status of elementary sub teachers is completely different from that of the higher education,” POED chairman Filios Fylaktou claimed.
He said that higher education substitutes teach and leave, while elementary school subs have additional duties.
OELMEK chairman Dimitris Taliadoros, on the other hand, commenting on POED’s demand, said that the ombudswoman’s report says that substitute teachers of both levels have the same duties and asked the ministry for equal treatment.
The stoppage caused inconvenience to the parents of the 49,000 kindergarten and elementary school children who said the strike also resulted in some pupils missing more than just the two hours as they stayed home the whole day because they could not be picked up at a later hour.