Saturday, October 05, 2013

MALLORCA TODAY - Teachers suspend strike and are likely to return to work on Monday

It was the CCOO union which first raised the possibility of a "truce" in the teachers strike yesterday, and the Assembly of Teachers later accepted a return to work, at the same time overwhelmingly maintaining the strike action. So, the strike has not been called off, it has only been suspended, and it could be reactivated at any time. While Monday is believed to be the day when schooling will resume, even this is not totally certain yet; there is to be a meeting today with the parents association to discuss this. There is some feeling among teachers that going back on Monday would look as though they had caved in to the regional government. What is also far from certain is what will be taught and, perhaps more importantly, in what language. Therefore, will TIL be applied or put on hold for the time being?

The parents association has welcomed the return to work but still supports the teachers against the government. The unions, perhaps acknowledging rising levels of opposition among at least some parents, have taken the view that a temporary suspension will bring some relief to these parents.

In the meantime, yesterday the government said that it would seek to employ over 100 more language assistants who would help with English conversation. These assistants would, it would appear, be taken on through schemes whereby student teachers from North America and Britain can be paid 700 euros per month for typically some 14 or 15 hours per week as part of their practical training.

The parents association has called for there to be mediation between the teachers and government, reviving the offer of the rector of the university in Palma to mediate (an offer the government rejected) or suggesting that the Ombudsman becomes involved. In other news related to the strike, the fund to help teachers financially during the strike (and they can lose up to one hundred euros a day if on strike) has risen to over 370,000 euros.

The government says that it has given ground on a number of issues to the teachers, but the teachers are still holding out for TIL to be applied only voluntarily at both primary and secondary levels this year (the government has been willing to make it voluntary in secondary schools), for directors of schools in Menorca to be reinstated (they were sacked for not complying with government requirements regarding TIL) and for a relaxation of the law of symbols so that the display of the Catalan flag would be permitted.

No comments: