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Cyprus

Teachers union says it’s being unfairly treated

Education Minister Costas Kadis

PRIMARY school teachers’ union Poed said on Thursday it was unfairly treated due to the few measures it took and urged Education Minister Costas Kadis to answer whether he was truly prepared to engage in a dialogue with them.

In an announcement Poed questioned Kadis’ readiness to engage in a dialogue on the reforms his ministry promotes.

Poed already went on a warning one-hour work stoppage last month and announced that they would no longer engage in a dialogue concerning any innovations of the education ministry. Last week the union also announced a series of one-period strikes islandwide every Wednesday morning, meaning those in one district at a time will all start a period later. The first work stoppage is on October 26 in Limassol.

Poed’s key demand is for annual – 12-month – contracts to be given to term-teachers, instead of 10-month ones, as per a cabinet decision aiming to tackle staff shortages in schools. The union’s board had said that the strike was also about serious problems primary schools face related to pre-schools, special education, illiteracy, children whose Greek is not their mother tongue, and juvenile delinquency.

In its Thursday announcement, Poed said that even though it has been requesting a dialogue for a long time without any significant results, it is being treated unfairly “because of the minimum measures it has implemented or intends to implement”.

The union also urged Kadis to tell them whether he was prepared to sit in comprehensive consultations with them “for the staffing of the 2017-2018 school year and whether he was willing to review together with the organisation, and in all honesty, the staffing as regards the 2016-2017 school year”.

“Is he ready to engage in a dialogue with the teachers’ union for the 2017 budget? Does he agree to comprehensively discuss the issue of the success and adequacy indicators and take sufficient account of the concerns of teachers, as submitted by Poed for the proper configuration of this innovation in order to make it a real and effective tool for teachers to the benefit of students?” the union asked.

Poed also wants to know if Kadis is willing to discuss in detail with them his ministry’s policy on the vocational training of teachers and whether he recognises their concerns as regards the effectiveness of this policy.

The union is also asking Kadis if he is willing to assume political responsibility and discuss with them “the whole spectrum of employment terms” of all the teachers working on a temporary basis in preschool, primary and special education in a way that it does not create injustice at the expense of any employee.

In addition, “if he commits that any issue concerning the employment terms and conditions of employees in the area of interest of Poed will always be examined” through the Joint Educational Service Personnel Committee.

Poed also wants to know if Kadis is willing to discuss in depth planning and timeframes for the implementation of educational policies.

If the answer is yes, the union said, then Kadis should say so in public. If this is done, then the first meeting could take place between him and the union, Poed said, to set a timeframe for the dialogue.

“If not, let him dare say it again, as he ought to, and let him too incur the wrath and condemnation of society,” Poed said.

 

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