Members of the union representing state secondary school teachers (OLME) are to meet again on Friday with Education Minister Constantinos Arvanitopoulos after the minister’s efforts on Thursday to dissuade them from launching strike action later this month, when pupils are to start university entrance examinations, failed to yield a compromise.
Speaking after Thursday’s meeting, OLME president Nikos Papachristos said teachers were “very close to agreeing on a proposal for a 24-hour strike on May 17 and a five-day strike from May 20.” His comments followed a dispute between teachers affiliated with the Communist-backed labor union PAME and with DAKE, the union backed by conservative New Democracy.
A row also broke out between ND and main leftist opposition SYRIZA, with the latter accusing the government of blackmailing teachers in its insistence that they cancel planned strike action due to the disruptive impact this would have. ND accused the leftists of “playing political games at the expense of hundreds of thousands of pupils.”
Protesting teachers want to avert plans to increase their working hours and to scale back auxiliary staff hirings next year.
The last time teachers went on strike during the university entrance exam period was 1988, when protesters walked off the job for 37 days in a row.