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Primary school strikes to start in Limassol Wednesday

Primary school teachers’ union Poed on Tuesday urged Limassol parents to drop off their children an hour later at school on Wednesday as the first of a number of one-hour work stoppages will begin at 7.30am.

The five one-hour work stoppages, which were announced earlier in the month by Poed, will take place on rotation in each district every Wednesday morning, meaning schools in one district at a time will all start later. Strikes will take place during the first hour of school, between 7.30am and 8.30am.

Teachers in Limassol’s preschool, primary and special education schools are the first to stage the measure.

The union said that next, on November 2, will be Famagusta, followed on November 9 by Paphos. Larnaca teachers will strike on November 16 and those of Nicosia on the 23rd of the month.

Teachers will also march on November 3 from the finance ministry to the Presidential Palace.

Poed’s key demand is for annual – 12-month – contracts to be given to temporary 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 mother tongue is not Greek and juvenile delinquency.

The union said on Tuesday that even though it had submitted its positions, observations and concerns “which aimed to prevent any disruption in the operation of schools due to the deficient policy on education” to the education ministry since August 2015 it has not been heard.

“We saw instead declarations on the import of educational policies with a starting date but without a comprehensive timeframe,” Poed said.

Poed already staged 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 unless Education Minister Costas Kadis was truly prepared to engage in a dialogue with them. So far, Poed had said, this was not the case and questioned Kadis’ readiness to engage in a dialogue on the reforms his ministry promotes.

Organised parents announced last week that they will make arrangements to have parents to watch school children during the upcoming teacher strikes. This decision, they said, was taken to facilitate parents who will not be in a position to drop off their children to school an hour later.

The education ministry said that teachers who are not Poed members will not participate in the work stoppage and will present for work as normal.

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