Cyprus Mail

Parents attempt to mediate in education crisis

Parents reps at the education ministry (Photo: CNA)

By Peter Michael

PARENTS’ organisations attempted on Friday to mediate two-month long crisis between teachers and the state, but failed to quell the brewing strike expected to be held by educators on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

The parents’ organisations of higher, primary, and nursery education met with the representatives of the teachers’ unions Poed, Oelmek, and Oltek in the afternoon, following a meeting with education minister, Costas Hambiaouris.

Following their meetings with Hambiaouris, the minister said: “Firstly, you have heard about the measures that will be taken.  We will keep it low-key.”

He added that they would re-examine the issue if something changed in the days leading up to the strike.  Regarding the agreement achieved both sides on September 6, Hambiaouris said that a paragraph had been changed in the proposals the other day by the unions.

“The document includes twelve paragraphs, which include various points.  It seems that the only paragraph, number four, is the only one to have been changed by the teachers’ unions, and it brought about this result.”

The paragraph, he added, deals with the hours that may have ‘wrongly been cut from teachers’.  Hambiaouris said the paragraph noted that a dialogue would be held between the government and the teachers if such an issue arises, and that the hours would be credited to the teachers over the course of the next three years.

However, the minister said that the teachers changed the wording, and requested that those hours lost be credited to them beforehand.

“You are aware that this is not a discussion.  We agreed on eleven points and now we are going to get stuck on paragraph four?” he said.

The parents’ organisations said that the teachers’ decisions to strike was their right. Following the parents’ afternoon meeting with the unions no statements were made.

On Wednesday, President Nicos Anastasiades said the government would not succumb to blackmail as teachers announced the 48-hour strike.

All three teachers’ unions – Poed, Oelmek and Oltek – decided to go on strike next Tuesday and Wednesday after their latest proposals were rejected by the government in a dispute that has been going on since early July.

It was also announced that they would draw up a plan for staggered strikes.

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