Members of the English School staff union (ESSA) held another in a series of ongoing protests against the layoff of three unionised teachers, as the House education committee held a meeting on the matter.
The committee held an urgent meeting on Wednesday to look at the legal framework governing the English School and the obligations derived from it, and the complaints launched against the school by staff union (ESSA) regarding what they call arbitrary layoffs.
“We’re here because we’re against the penalisation of unionism, we’re here to demand the revocation of the three dismissals,” Marilena Neocleous, a teacher at the school, told CNA.
Founded over 100 years ago, the English School is a private secondary school the legal status of which was confirmed in 2007 by a final decision of the Supreme Court. However, it is still regulated by a special legislation dictating that its management and maintenance are responsibilities of the state, which also means that part of its budget comes from state funding.
The row has been rumbling on for months as the protests show no sign of abating, with those present outside parliament on Wednesday shouting slogans of “shame” and “we say no to dismissals”.
Neocleous further said that: “We’re calling to be at a school with healthy working conditions, where unionisation and the implementation of our rights are respected – that’s why we’ll proceed with additional measures if the issue is not resolved immediately.”
Also at the protest were representatives from Poaso (Pancyprian federation of independent trade unions) who said the measures taken by the school violate the freedom of workers to unionise.
“[These] freedoms are guaranteed by the labour laws and the industrial relations code which provide for the freedom to unionise,” Poaso said at the protest.