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The malaise of teachers in Europe

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The malaise of teachers in Europe

Lhe situation of the European economy is not going through a good moment. The war between Russia and Ukraine continues to take its toll on Western countries, because the increase in energy prices by dispensing with Russian oil and gas and bringing it from more distant regions is causing an unprecedented rise in prices.

It is not only energy, the increase in fuels has caused inflation, in several countries, to even reach double digits, a situation without precedent in the last 25 years.

The teaching union, being one of the least earning on average compared to other professions, has become a vulnerable sector in the face of rising prices and the increase in poverty. That is why it is not surprising that in the mobilizations that have been presented, this sector is one of the ones that is agitating the social protest the most.

In UK: unemployment

Teachers have come out to protest in the last two weeks. The reduction in purchasing power and the increase in prices are among the reasons. The country’s departure from the European Union has led to a complex situation and according to figures from the European observatory, one million Britons have lost their jobs since the victory of Brexit two years ago.

Teachers are the fourth sector that most supports strikes in this country. According to the market research firm YouGov, 51% of teachers support the strikes and the most similar to the strikes is nursing, with almost 70% support, another sector that is among the most vulnerable in the crisis. european.

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The British unions will continue the strikes, in addition to the teachers, industrial employees and transporters will continue marching, the Sunak government does not have an easy time reducing social discontent.

France: pensions

President Emmanuel Macron also has a complex situation in wanting to advance the pension reform that proposes two more years of contributions. According to government studies, the retirement system is collapsing due to the increase in pensioners and the reduction in contributors, for which reason an extension in the pension age of two years is proposed.

Last week two million people came out to protest, including the teachers’ union that has already been agitated since 2022 due to the constant changes in the regulations to manage the pandemic at school and the protocols that made it difficult to carry out classes.

In a statement on Thursday last week, SNES-FSU, the country’s main teachers’ union, reported that 55% of secondary school teachers were on strike across France, although the government reduces the figure to 26%. .

The cities of Marseille, Lyon and Nantes are the ones that have been most affected by the cancellation of classes or the cessation of school activities.

Portugal: salaries

The education sector is on the warpath in the Portuguese country. For the third time since December, teachers and non-teaching staff have demonstrated in Lisbon to demand better working conditions and a salary increase.

The march, organized by the STOP Union, which represents “All Education Professionals”, brought together thousands of teachers from all educational levels. The march last Saturday responds to the decision of the Court of Arbitration, which has decreed minimum services in schools to respond to the mobilization of the sector.

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The Portuguese teachers assure that they will not give in, they consider that precariousness has increased, that inflation hit their income and job instability is serious, since most of them do not have an official appointment, which makes the profession very precarious, both in school education and superior.

The government has promised to hire 10,000 teachers in 2023, a proposal that is difficult to fulfill with the budget crisis.

Italy: non-compliance

Italian teachers have threatened to stop again due to the non-compliance of the last May 2022 strike when they left to demand a reform of the law on teacher recruitment and training that, they say, increases the precariousness of the profession.

Educators have spent years insisting on greater hiring of teachers and improving the conditions of job stability. The government approved in mid-2022 a new form of evaluation for the entry of new teachers that involves three different tests and that the union considers was not socialized with them, and makes the entry of new teachers very difficult.

Spain: permanent position

On January 25 and 26, the educators went out to march and the list of demands is high: first they ask to pay seniority in the case of Catalonia, something that was stopped with the 2008 crisis. There is talk of debts of 150 million euros. euros. In the same way, reduce the weekly load of two hours for teachers over 55 years of age and also stabilize the temporary ones, because the majority are for class hours. They ask that this year, 27 thousand teachers manage to have a permanent position.

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In Valencia, the temporary professors of the universities will go out to march for better salary conditions and less workload. The situation in Spain is getting even more difficult because this year there will be elections for union leadership, so demands and pressure are expected to increase.

In short, the educational environment is tense, the demands and discontent are growing. Teacher mobilizations were also announced in Belgium and Germany.

Although inflation in the euro area finally dropped this week, the damage from the pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine, which does not seem to have an end, will increase the tension in the education sector of the European Union.

*Specialist in education

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