No deal between teachers and PM

A meeting between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and teachers yesterday failed to bring an end to a six-week strike held by educators as the government insisted it cannot meet their pay demands. In a 90-minute meeting held with the Primary School Teachers’ Federation (DOE), the Federation of Secondary School Teachers (OLME) and Education Minister Marietta Giannakou, Karamanlis agreed to speed up the payment of a promised allowance but stopped short of meeting the hefty pay rise. «I don’t have the right to mortgage the country’s future to win instant popularity,» Karamanlis said. Preschool and primary school teachers, seeking a 45 percent pay rise for starting salaries, said after the meeting that they are not satisfied with the outcome and will decide today on their next course of action. «There was no substantial change in government proposals,» said Dimitris Bratis, head of DOE. Teachers will demonstrate in central Athens today and will be joined by university staff and students’ unions. Students have shut down 900 secondary schools as they call for more money to be poured into education. They also want the government to abolish the new minimum grade point average of 10 out of 20 for admission into state universities. Meanwhile, the Education Ministry is looking for ways to make up all the lost teaching hours from the strike as teachers consider the likelihood of going back to work next week.