More teachers set to join protests

Primary and preschool teachers gave the final nod on Saturday for strike action over pay demands to continue for a fourth week from today as protests threaten to spill over into the tertiary sector. The Panhellenic Federation of Teaching and Scientific Personnel (POSDEP) – the university teachers’ union – is expected to meet today and decide whether its members will strike on Wednesday in support of their peers. «The meeting will express its support for teachers, but will also send a message to the government regarding reforms in the tertiary education,» said Ioannis Maistros, POSDEP general secretary. High school educators have also scheduled a 48-hour strike starting today. Teachers walked off the job almost a month ago after talks with the government collapsed over a 45 percent pay rise they are seeking for starting salaries. The conservative government, which has agreed to an extra allowance, has repeatedly said that budgetary restraints do not allow it to meet the demands being made. Teacher demonstrations are expected to continue this week in the center of Athens with unionists attempting to make the most of a nervous government looking at Sunday’s municipal elections. Apart from strikes involving university staff, sources said that tertiary students may join the protest action by locking down campus grounds across the country. Meanwhile, the Education Ministry has also expressed concern about how the year’s teaching material will be covered with so much teaching time lost due to the strike.

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