OPINION

Extreme positions no good to anyone

The Primary Teachers’ Federation is (DOE) demanding that the starting salary for their profession begin at 1,400 euros per month – a significant increase from the current 950 euros. In other words, teachers are eying a 450 euro hike – which equals the average pension given by the Social Security Foundation (IKA). Education Minister Marietta Giannakou has responded to the unionists’ demands by counter-proposing granting a benefit of 105 euros in six, monthly installments of 17.5 euros. The chasm between the two sides is very wide and will be hard to bridge. The criteria on which primary and pre-school teachers are basing their demand of 1,400 euros are not known. What everyone knowns however is that the state budget cannot take such a financial strain. It seems likely that teachers have set maximalist demands as a bargaining chip for bargaining in the future. The 17.5 euros proposed by the government is too small a hike to satisfy teachers, particularly after promising to invest 5 percent of GDP in education. Perhaps the conservative administration of Costas Karamanlis would like to incite a conflict in the education sector in a bid to deflect attention from other areas of public life. The government should know better. Education should not become a battlefield and both sides should avoid extreme positions and conflict.