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Teachers suspend periodic strike measures for now

Poed protest (Christos Theodorides)

Primary education teachers’ union Poed announced on Thursday it would suspend for two weeks the strike measures it decided on last month over the employment status of temporary teachers and other problems faced in schools, due to the Cyprus settlement talks in Switzerland.

The head of the union, Filios Fylaktou told the Cyprus News Agency that the board took the decision taking into consideration the talks, and the appeal made to them by the House education committee which acts as a mediator between Poed and the education ministry. He said that they also took into consideration their meeting with Education Minister Costas Kadis on Friday.

Fylaktou expressed hope that Friday’s meeting with Kadis would be the basis for the commencement of a dialogue.

Thursday’s protest march by Poed members from the finance ministry to the presidential palace took place as planned. Poed’s board is to meet again in two weeks to decide their next steps, Fylaktou said.

The union had announced last month five one-hour work stoppages that 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 would all start an hour later. The strike already took place in Limassol last week and in the Famagusta district on Wednesday.

Next in line are Paphos teachers, followed by Larnaca and those of Nicosia.

Poed had earlier announced  it would no longer engage in a dialogue with Kadis on the education reforms the ministry proposed after their own suggestions, they said, were not taken into consideration.

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.

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