Members of the union representing state secondary school teachers (OLME) are to convene at noon on Friday to decide whether or not go ahead with strike action later this month -- a move that would disrupt university entrance examinations -- after marathon talks with Education Minister Constantinos Arvanitopoulos on Thursday broke down.
After 10 hours of talks on Thursday, 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.” He referred to a dispute between teachers affiliated with the Communist-backed labor union PAME and with DAKE, the union backed by conservative New Democracy, but expressed optimism that a final decision would be reached on Friday.
The planned action by the teachers has fueled a political row too with the main leftist opposition party SYRIZA accusing the government of blackmailing teachers by insisting that they call off their planned industrial action while ND has accused the leftists of “playing political games at the expense of hundreds of thousands of pupils.”
Teachers are seeking the revocation of a draft presidential decree that foresees a two-hour increase to their weekly working hours. They also oppose government plans to scale back auxiliary staff hirings next year.