Teachers to sue gov’t for mobility scheme

The Federation of Secondary School Teachers (OLME), which on Thursday is to decide on crucial strike action next month that could paralyze schools, said Wednesday that it would take legal action against the government’s plan to put thousands of teachers into a so-called mobility scheme where they would get reduced pay ahead of their transfer to another post or dismissal.

Accusing the government of embarking on “an assault against state education,” OLME said it was lodging a legal suit in a bid to reverse the enforcement of the mobility scheme, one of the key “prior actions” the government has promised the country’s troika of international creditors. “We do not accept the decisions of the government and the education minister to put our colleagues on standby,” the union said, referring to Constantinos Arvanitopoulos, whose talks earlier this week with unionists failed to yield a compromise.

OLME unionists are to convene again on Thursday to decide on the type and duration of strike action next month. Their decision will be subsequently be put to local unions for approval.

OLME members and supporters are expected to join a protest rally at noon on Thursday in Klafthmonos Square, central Athens, which is being organized by the civil servants’ union ADEDY to express opposition to the government’s public sector reforms. ADEDY members are staging a four-hour work stoppage from 11 a.m. which is to be joined by members of the local authority workers’ union, POE-OTA.

On Wednesday, Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who has been tasked with overseeing the overhaul of Greece’s civil service, insisted that the planned reforms will go ahead. “We can’t have a situation where nothing changes so that certain people can retain their privileges,” Mitsotakis told Mega TV. He also suggested that authorities would fight back if teachers go ahead with their planned strike action next month. “The government will not tolerate closed schools, not even for a day,” he said. Last week, OLME’s head Themis Kotsifakis suggested that the government was forcing teachers into a corner. “It is the government that will close schools with so many cutbacks,” he said.