The approval of the government’s austerity package has set in motion an imaginary wheel in which individual ministers will compete for the money that the aforementioned package took from them and which, according to their words, they need to maintain the smooth running of the department entrusted to them.
Of course, the money available is orders of magnitude less than the ministers imagine. Arguments can therefore result in a tug-of-war over the priorities that the government should focus on, as well as disputes between individual ministers and coalition parties.
One of the areas that appears to be underfunded is education.
Teachers were promised that they would receive 130 percent of the average salary, but this promise is proving to be unfulfilled.
When the draft budget for 2024 was released, it was found that as part of Minister Stanjura’s savings, the Department of Education chapter was cut by 11.6 billion.
“It clearly shows that the promises of the five-coalition in the field of education were not taken seriously, and the current assurances that the cuts will not have a negative impact on education were just wishful thinking. Only a completely stupid and blind person could believe this,” MP Zdeněk Kettner, an education expert from the opposition SPD, concluded for ParlamentníListy.cz.
Almost immediately after that, school unions and other union organizations started talking about a strike.
“There are really a lot of cuts. For salaries, aids for pupils, scout groups,” Radek Sárközi, president of the Pedagogical Chamber, tells ParlamentníListy.cz. The broke down this year’s budget cuts item by item.
Now the Minister of Education Mikuláš Bek (STAN) is looking for money that would keep at least part of the non-teaching staff in their positions, he does not have the money for their salaries at the moment. He has not yet found understanding with the Minister of Finance Zbyňek Stanjura (ODS), and the considered savings measures in the area of limiting the number of teaching hours would only be reflected in savings in two years, and thus would cover only a small part of the necessary costs.
“Against the original proposal of the Ministry of Finance, from my point of view, it would be necessary to add about five billion more than we have now,” Bek reveals, how much money he imagines he would get for his department in addition to the budget proposal for next year.
Besides, he was coming up with other ideas. Since his promise only concerned teaching staff, it was considered that the salaries of non-teaching staff – janitors or cooks from school canteens – would be cut all the more. At the same time, they already belong to the worst-paid professions.
- Minister of Education, Youth and Sports
Later, other ideas of Minister Bek, how to save on teachers, appeared in public. From the next school year, he wants according to server SeznamZprávy.cz reduce the number of teaching hours (the so-called PHmax) that it finances for schools. Primary schools by six percent and secondary schools by 15 percent. But this met with resistance from a large part of the schools, and it does not find support even across the government coalition.
He then caused a widespread uproar among the teachers, which definitively confirmed the school unions in declaring a strike.
“The pedagogical public does not perceive that this is the fulfillment of promises,” stated the chairman of school unions František Dobšík.
It is to be held on November 27, symbolically marking the 34th anniversary of the November 1989 general strike.
The Pedagogical Chamber also supports the strike. “We are concerned with maintaining the quality of our children’s education. We want to prevent ill-conceived interventions in the functioning education system, to prevent cuts in the budget of the education department for 2024. We cannot allow the salaries of non-teaching staff and other educators to decrease in 2024,” says Radek Sárközi.
“Stopping funding from the state budget for 17,000 non-teaching staff in education in 2024 out of a total of 77,000 employees means reducing their numbers by 22%. Or reduce the salaries of the existing ones by 22%, if there were no layoffs,” he adds to the specific numbers.
Employees of several industrial enterprises also want to join the strike on November 27 with their own demands.
“They have the right to do that, we live in a democratic society. But if they think that the strike will help in the negotiations between the government and the unions, then it will definitely not help,” Finance Minister Zbyněk Stanjura tells the teachers.
Did you like this article?
You can support the independence of our editorial office with a monetary donation of any amount by bank transfer to the following account:
The QR code contains payment information, determine the amount yourself.
Are you a politician? Post whatever you want without editing. Register HERE.
Are you a reader and want to communicate with your representatives? Register HERE.
author: Jakub Vosáhlo
A factual error in reporting? Help us fix it.