NEWS

EU cash for academics

As university lecturers continue a strike that has cost students the June exam period, Education Minister Petros Efthymiou attempted to use Third Community Support Framework funds to overcome opposition by university lecturers. On Wednesday, in view of Thursday’s meeting with the lecturers’ trade union POSDEP AEI, Efthymiou, in talks with the deans’ financial committees, promised to fund university research programs to the tune of just over 293 million euros (about 100 billion drachmas). The funds, part of a special program already administered by the EU Special Secretariat of the Ministry of Education, had already been promised and an announcement was to be made at the next deans’ conference on June 21. But the announcement was brought forward so that the funds could be presented as a bonus for all lecturers. «The obvious aim is to cover over the government’s inability to raise salaries,» POSDEP General Secretary Evgenia Bournova told Kathimerini on Wednesday. Michalis Papadopoulos, the dean of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, pointed out that the issue was that the minister had not yielded to the main demand by POSDEP for salary increases. However, Efthymiou promised that the mixed committee on lecturers’ pension arrangements, composed of university representatives and officials of the ministries of Finance and Education, will examine the following issues: – The holiday bonus. The recent bill drafted by the Education Ministry had such a provision, but was eventually withdrawn. – Reducing wage differentials among technical and administrative staff (ETEP), who number some 2,000 people, and among the 150 former lecturers’ assistants (EDIPI). A provision on this, promised in 2000, was also not included in recent legislation. Nonetheless, the university lecturers’ strike continued at many universities. On Wednesday, the senate of Piraeus University, according to its dean, Vassileios Benos, confirmed that 10 days of lessons were left till the end of the semester, and decided to ask the union to suspend the strike. Next Tuesday’s union general assembly will discuss the next moves. These provisions will be included in the new school regulations. Key to their realization will the principal of each school, whose role will be upgraded. Specifically, school principals will: