President Nicos Anastasiades on Wednesday invited teaching unions to a meeting later this week to discuss changes to teachers’ workloads which has prompted strike threats.
According to government spokesman, Prodromos Prodromou, the president has invited the teaching unions – Poed, Oelmek and Oltek – to the Presidential Palace on Friday morning.
“It is an invitation to a free and open dialogue, without an agenda, on the streamlining and better utilisation of resources available for public education,” Prodromou said.
The overall aim, he said, is to improve educational standards in public schools.
Anastasiades’ invitation comes after teaching unions did not show up to a meeting called by Education Minister Costas Hambiaouris on Tuesday to discuss their grievances. The unions had been calling for Anastasiades to intervene, declaring that they no longer wished to communicate with Hambiaouris, maintaining the minister was a ‘non-credible interlocutor’.
The row started earlier in the month when unions were angered by a cabinet decision to abolish exemptions from teaching hours for trade union activities and extra-curricular activities, and fewer teaching hours for teachers according to their years of service.
They have threatened measures and pledged to disrupt the start of the new school year if the privilege is taken away.