Teachers to appeal to Court of Appeal over minimum services

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The platform of nine trade union organizations announced today that it would appeal to the Court of Appeal following the decision of the Court of Arbitration, which decreed minimum services for the teachers’ strike over assessments.

The union platform, which includes the national federations of education and teaching (FNE and Fenprof), met today and decided that it would even go ahead with the appeal to the Court of Appeal “for a ruling on the legality of the minimum services decreed”.

The Court of Arbitration’s decision, known this Tuesday, refers to the evaluation strike decreed by the nine trade union organizations between today and June 16, as well as the evaluation strike decreed by the Union of Education Professionals (Stop) between June 12 and 16.

This is not the first time that unions have gone to court over minimum services. In 2018, the Court of Appeal ruled that a strike over assessments was illegal, as was a recent decision concerning various strikes in February and March.

In decisions made known in May, the Lisbon Court of Appeal affirmed that “the right to strike can only be sacrificed to the minimum essential”. In the case of the education sector, “it is limited to the activities of final evaluations, examinations or tests of a national nature which must take place on the same date throughout the national territory”.

However, the judges consider that this circumstance is not present, and therefore that “the fixing of minimum benefits is illegal”.

For their part, the teachers’ representatives added in a statement today that they will also seek to “refer the matter to the Constitutional Court for a ruling on the constitutionality not only of the minimum services, but also of the law itself on the matter”.

“The minimum services that are being decreed go beyond what the law provides, and it seems that we are faced with a ‘civil requisition'”, they write, accusing the arbitration boards of “not respecting existing case law”.

At today’s meeting, the teachers also decided to maintain the strikes against the second-year assessment tests, between June 15 and 20, and pledged to “immediately open the debate on continuing the struggle at the beginning of the school year”, if the government does not respond to the demand for recuperation of service time.

“Faced with the lack of political will on the part of the government and the Ministry of Education to negotiate solutions to the problems of teachers and schools, they consider that the teachers’ struggle cannot and will not stop,” the statement said.

Strike for final evaluations with minimum services but only for 12th grade

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