Close the school, skip some subjects or join the strike only symbolically. Teachers can join the protest, which the trade unionists have announced for Monday, November 27, in different ways. It is not yet clear how the strike will affect individual schools, their employees are now agreeing on the form of the protest. In most cases, they should make a decision within the next week.
On the morning of Friday, November 10, the management met with trade unionists at one of the larger primary schools in Děčín. But a clear verdict was not reached. “The decision will be made by November 16, then we will notify the parents,” said Martin Lána, the director of the school on Máchov náměstí in Děčín. According to the law, teachers still have quite a lot of time, they must announce the nature of the strike no later than three days before it takes place.
The situation is similar at other elementary schools in the region. Within the whole of the Czech Republic, trade unionists claim that a third of schools support their protest. “We have an elected representative who will coordinate the strike. I expect most of the congregation to join the strike. We will support our non-pedagogues, our janitors, cooks. At the same time, we don’t like the non-systemic things that the Ministry of Education wants to introduce,” said Magda Petrášková, the principal of the primary school in Markvartice in Děčínsk. It thus refers to the intention of the Ministry of Education to reduce the maximum number of unlearned hours by up to fifteen percent. This would mean a significant reduction in income for schools and necessary layoffs.
In Varnsdorf, according to the spokesman of the municipal office, Tomáš Secký, they do not expect too much active participation in the protest. “Schools will be open and will ensure traffic so that parents have guaranteed supervision. In addition to groups, for example combining individual classes comes into consideration,” Secký reassures parents.
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If schools were to completely suspend their operations, this could have an impact not only on teaching, but also on school canteens. In that case, they wouldn’t even have to cook for boarders outside the school, typically seniors.
The salaries of the teachers themselves are not the main reason for the protest this time. The school unions mainly want to draw attention to cuts in money for non-pedagogical positions in schools – janitors, cooks and the like. According to the draft budget for 2024, there is a lack of funding for almost 17,000 jobs. “We don’t want the salaries of non-teaching staff to drop. In the current form of the draft budget, this can only be achieved by school principals having to tap into the money intended for teacher salaries,” explained Markéta Seidlová, vice president of the Czech-Moravian Trade Union of Education Workers.