Teachers’ union calls strike for first day of exams

The union of secondary school teachers (OLME) on Friday called a 24-hour strike for May 17, the first day of university entrance examinations, and proposed another five-day walkout from May 20, action that will cause serious disruption for thousands of pupils if it goes ahead.

The members of OLME’s board voted nine in favor and two against the strike action, Skai reported.

In comments to reporters after a three-hour meeting by OLME’s board, the union’s president Nikos Papachristos said the board would meet again in the coming days to decide on the five-day walkout. He accused the Education Ministry of provoking the decision on the strike by its “unacceptable stance” and “intransigence” in talks.

The strike action would be held, he said, to protest the transfer of 4,000 teachers to other posts and thousands more layoffs expected in coming months. Teachers are also seeking the revocation of a draft presidential decree that foresees a two-hour increase to their weekly working hours and they oppose government plans to scale back auxiliary staff hirings next year.

The government has indicated that it will take “all necessary action” to ensure that the exams go ahead and has not ruled out the possibility of issuing civil mobilization orders to force the teachers back to work, as it did with striking Athens metro employees in January.