Classes at the Famagusta district primary schools began an hour later on Wednesday as teachers went on a one-hour work stoppage, while their union, Poed, announced they might call off the remaining three scheduled later in the month due to the settlement talks of the two leaders in Switzerland.
The head of Poed, Phylios Fylaktou, said that he has already suggested to the union’s board to call off the strike measures they had announced last month to protest over the employment status of temporary teachers and problems faced in schools.
Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC radio, Fylaktou said that the reason behind this were the serious developments concerning the Cyprus problem.
“Poed, whenever it was required, has always put national matters above all,” Fylaktou said.
He added that the board will decide on Thursday whether to call off the rest of the one-hour work stoppages – five in total – they had announced last month. The work stoppages were scheduled to take place on rotation in each district every Wednesday morning between 7.30am and 8.30am, meaning schools in one district at a time will all start an hour later. The strike already took place in Limassol last week.
Wednesday was the Famagusta district’s turn. If they are not called off, next week it will be the Paphos teachers’ turn. Larnaca teachers are set to strike on November 16 and those of Nicosia on November 23.
Fylaktou said that they would also decide whether to call off the protest they had scheduled for Thursday outside the finance ministry.
Education Minister Costas Kadis said that the union could have made this decision sooner to avoid making things difficult for Famagusta parents who had to make arrangements for their children to go to school an hour later.
He added that he was to meet with the union on Friday and expressed hope that a “fruitful dialogue” would take place.
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.