Cyprus Mail

Kindergarten teachers to strike in support or primary-school colleagues

State kindergarten teachers announced on Tuesday they would join their primary education colleagues on Wednesday in a planned work stoppage as a show of solidarity.

Primary education teachers’ union Poed plans on going on a warning strike  on Wednesday from noon, over the government’s decision to use substitute teachers to fill permanent posts.

The union had said the cabinet’s decision to cover the real educational needs by illegally filling permanent places through substitute teachers rather than providing annual contracts, was ‘unacceptable’.

Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC the head of state kindergartens teachers’ association Stavroula Damala, said that this was a common struggle.

It is our obligation to support Poed, she said, as most kindergartens share facilities with primary schools. State kindergartens too face understaffing problems, she said,

Parents however do not share the teachers’ concerns and called on Poed to reconsider.

The head of the island’s primary parents’ association Maria Savva said the group has decided to call Poed to recall the work stoppage. This year, she said, schools are better staffed than previous years.

If Poed has additional information which justifies their decision for work stoppage, they should make it public, “to convince us parents and we will be the first to react if there truly is a problem”.

Education Minister Costas Kadis had said last week that from the 228 teachers who will be hired to help meet staffing shortages or absences in primary and secondary education, 125 will be substitute teachers, while 103 will be given one-year contracts. The House plenary already approved the amendment of the 2016 budget to allow the recruitment of the 103 teachers on contracts, as per the education ministry’s request.

He said that the cabinet commissioned a study on the streamlining of the employment of teachers both in the primary and secondary education and that within the year there might be changes based on the results of this study. Due to this, Kadis said, it was deemed that it was best not to give one-year contracts to all teachers who will be called to fill in empty posts as they might not be needed for the whole year.

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