Slovakia: Civil protest of teachers continues after election

In January 2016, unsatisfied teachers in primary and secondary schools held a protest strike in support of a number of demands including an increase in pay. The protest, however, was not initially supported by trade unions.

The teachers' strike held on 25 January was not in accordance with the law on collective bargaining and was not initially supported by trade unions. Instead, the strike was instigated by the Initiative of Slovak Teachers (ISU) - a civic association established by unsatisfied teachers – and organised in compliance with the Slovak Constitution, according to which, citizens have the right to strike.

The main Trade Union Association of Employees in Education and Science (OZPŠaV) did not support the protest of teachers, having signed a multi-employer collective agreement with the government where a 4% salary increase was agreed for all public servants, including teachers. However, OZPŠaV, along with eleven organisations active in regional schools and seven organisations active at universities and research, signed a joint declaration – the Declaration of OZPŠaV and partner representatives active in education sector on the support to the improvement of conditions and level of education and science in the Slovak Republic.

The Declaration, which was addressed to all political parties participating in the election, consists of eight demands aimed at the improvement of education in regional schools and ten demands aimed at the improvement of education at the universities including salary tariffs of pedagogical employees and professional specialists to increase by 25% in 2017, and afterwards by 10% each year.

Further strike action was planned ahead of the national election on 5 March, the then government responding to strikers by saying that their demands would be up for discussion with new government after the election, with teachers expecting the elected government to meet their demands.

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