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‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ in education spat?

Education Minister Costas Hambiaouris

PRIMARY school teachers’ union Poed leader Fylios Fylaktou was optimistic on Monday that a satisfactory solution could be found in the ongoing dispute with the education ministry, while the education minister accepted the unions’ request to move their ongoing negotiations to Wednesday and Thursday.

“Since there is dialogue, there must be hope,” Fylaktou said, expressing his restrained optimism that a solution favourable to both sides is possible.

The willingness of both sides to engage in dialogue and to attempt to find a solution favourable for all was confirmed by Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos, who held separate meetings on Monday with the teachers’ unions and education minister in an attempt to bridge the gap between the two parties.

However, Sizopoulos said that “there are still differences between the education minister and the teachers’ unions on key issues following the latest government proposals.”

Fylaktou said that there was still a long way to go towards bridging the gap, but if good will continued to be shown from both sides, “we might be able to get out of the stalemate in the coming days.”

Education minister Costas Hambiaouris confirmed that successive meetings would be held on Wednesday and Thursday with the teachers’ unions, while on Thursday the minister will also meet with organised parents, according to the Cyprus News Agency.

On Wednesday the teachers’ unions will convene separately before coming together for a general meeting in order to prepare their position in light of their meeting with the education minister scheduled on the same day.

The month-long spat over a cabinet decision to end the practice of reduced teaching hours according to the length of service as well as for extra-curricular activities may be at an end, even though both parties have so far been unwavering.

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