Teachers want “historic agreement” on service time on June 6

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The general secretary of the National Federation of Teachers (Fenprof) said today that July 6 will be historic, but hopes that the reason is an agreement with the government for the full recovery of service time.

“The day will have history, but we would like it to be used to solve this problem,” said Mário Nogueira, representing the platform that brings together nine union organizations, also including the National Federation of Education.

The leader of Fenprof was speaking to journalists at the end of a protest that gathered about fifty teachers in front of the Assembly of the Republic, where the speech made exactly four years ago by the Prime Minister, in a statement to the country, was heard.

“The Government is responsible for guaranteeing the trust of the Portuguese people in the commitments we have undertaken and the external credibility of the country. Under these conditions, I understood it to be my duty of institutional loyalty to inform the President of the Republic and the President of the Assembly of the Republic that the approval in final overall vote of this parliamentary initiative will force the Government to resign,” António Costa said in 2019.

The project was eventually rejected and, four years later, the teachers have still not recovered all the frozen service time and are still claiming the remaining six years, six months and 23 days.

Therefore, the choice of June 6th (06/06/2023) to hold a national strike and two demonstrations (in Lisbon and Porto) was not innocent. And Mário Nogueira is confident that it will be a historic date.

Mário Nogueira wants, however, that the date should be set before an agreement between the unions and the Ministry of Education for the full recovery of the service time and believes that, if there is political will, the negotiation can be fast.

“Can the government, if there is political will in that direction, finally reach an agreement on the recovery of time of service and the dismissal of vacancies. The government leaders must have the courage to treat the teachers well”, said the secretary general of Fenprof, reminding that the unions have already presented a concrete proposal for the phased recuperation, until the end of the legislature, and the end of vacancies for access to the 5th and 7th grades.

“We are open and may go beyond the legislature if it is confirmed that there is no financial support to be in three years, but we are not available to be zero,” he added.

The leader of Fenprof also said that if the Minister of Education believes that the claim is fair and legitimate, as he has previously stated, “he has to think carefully why he should continue to manage a problem for which he has no solution.

Among the teachers who were gathered in front of the Assembly, there were repeated accounts of teachers harmed by the career freeze.

Some would already be in the last step, but with more than 30 years of service they are still in the 8th. Others would now be approaching the top of their career, but are still in the middle.

This is the case of Nelson Delgado, a Portuguese teacher for 33 years, who would today be in the 9th step, but due to the career freeze and the existence of vacancies for the 5th and 7th steps, he is still waiting for promotion to the 6th.

“I will never reach the top of my career,” lamented the teacher, considering that the Government’s refusal is only political, but assuring that this time the teachers will not back down.

Rui Inácio, on the other hand, was one of the few teachers in the protest who managed to reach the 10th grade. A teacher of Visual and Technological Education for 45 years, he doesn’t understand the executive’s position and stresses that the decision is hurting many of his colleagues.

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