After four months, indefinite strike in schools comes to an end

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This Friday is the last working day of the strike called by the Union of All Education Professionals (Stop). But a new national strike has already been called for April 24, 26, 27 and 28.

The indefinite strike called by the Union of All Education Professionals (Stop) ends this week, more than four months after the first day of the strike, but without a response to the main demands.

Although the notices sent out last until Sunday, today is the last working day of a strike that united teachers and non-teaching workers and which, especially in the first weeks, led to the closure of several schools.

A “civics lesson”: this is how the coordinator of Stop, André Pestana, described the protest, defending from the beginning that it was not the strike that would harm the students’ learning, but the aggravated lack of teachers.

André Pestana, STOP founderPhoto: ANTÓNIO COTRIM/LUSA
O líder do Sindicato de Todos os Professores (S.T.O.P), André Pestana, durante a Marcha Nacional pela Escola Pública, convocada pelo S.TO.P como forma de protesto contra as politicas de educação do Governo, Lisboa, 14 janeiro 2023. ANTÓNIO COTRIM/LUSA

Initially, the strike was aimed only at teachers, as a response to the revision of the competition regime that was being negotiated at the time between the Ministry of Education and the unions, but also to demand answers to long-standing demands.

Among the main demands were the counting of all service time (six years, six months and 23 days), the end of vacancies for access to the 5th and 7th grades, and better working conditions and wages for non-teaching workers, who were later included in the strike.

Given the instability created in the schools and the uncertainty of the strike with no end in sight, the Ministry of Education finally demanded minimum services, which were set by the Arbitration Court.

The minimum services came into effect from the second month of the strike and were gradually extended by the court to include teaching activities (at least three hours of classes or lessons per day).

The strike was also marked by an opinion from the Public Prosecutor’s Office (PGR), at the request of the Ministry of Education, on the legality of the manner in which the strike was conducted.

The PGR considered that there was a discrepancy between the advance notice of the strike given to the Ministry of Education and the information given by the union to the teachers, because although the advance notice stated that the strike would last for the entire working day, Stop stated that the teachers could decide on the specific duration of the period in which they would observe the strike, which in these cases made it a strike with characteristics similar to the “self-service” strike.

However, the end of the indefinite strike does not mean the end of the struggle of STOP, which has already called a new national strike for April 24, 26, 27 and 28. On April 25, the union will return to the streets with a demonstration in Lisbon, the fifth since December.

“It was decided with the strike committees to suspend [the indefinite strike] on April 16, but also to leave open, because negotiations continue, new forms of struggle that would be necessary,” explained Carla Piedade, of Stop’s management, to Lusa on Tuesday.

Source: https://cnnportugal.iol.pt/professores/greve/apos-quatro-meses-greve-por-tempo-indeterminado-nas-escolas-chega-ao-fim/20230414/6438eec40cf2665294deeb97

 

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