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Teachers’ Union suspends nationwide strike

13:47, 25.04.2019
Teachers’ Union suspends nationwide strike Sławomir Broniarz, the head of the Polish Teacher’s Union (ZNP), announced that the strike of teachers will be suspended from Saturday.

Sławomir Broniarz, the head of the Polish Teacher’s Union (ZNP), announced that the strike of teachers will be suspended from Saturday.

Photo: PAP/Rafał Guz
Photo: PAP/Rafał Guz

Podziel się:   Więcej
Click here to read an analysis from PolandIN.

“From Saturday, April 27, ZNP is suspending the nationwide strike, but is not ending it,” Mr Broniarz said on Thursday. “Moreover, we are entering a new, more significant phase,” the head of the union emphasised.

“We want to give the students the possibility to finish their education,” he added.

Mr Broniarz also said that the unions “are giving the Prime Minister time until September.” “We await substantial solutions, we present ours as the general solutions,” the head of ZNP stressed.

He also said that his union will not take part in talks organised by the government. “We are not signing anything. We are not giving up, and will not take part in the facade of negotiations organised by the government,” Mr Broniarz announced. He added that in June, the union wants to organise “a real education round table talk.”

The head of the union presented the “School for six” programme, with the postulates for reforming education. It includes increasing budget spending on education to 5 percent of GDP, shortening the syllabus, teaching skills instead of learning by heart, decreasing bureaucracy, increasing the autonomy of schools and teachers, as well as higher salaries for teachers and education employees.

Beata Mazurek, the spokesperson of the ruling Law and Justice party, told a press conference that decision of suspending the strike is “good news.”

“This is a decision that takes into account the good of the students,” she said. Ms Mazurek added that the problems of the Polish education system have to be solved.

Beata Szydło, former Prime Minister and a current deputy Prime Minister, also expressed her satisfaction about the decision of ZNP. “This decision was important and necessary for everyone, especially graduates, parents and teachers. I thank them for this decision, the government is open for negotiations and wants to maintain dialogue,” she said.

source: TVP Info, Onet, PolandIN

The leader of the teachers union Sławomir Broniarz came under pressure from liberal politicians who were supporting the strike to suspend it. Why? Because the poll numbers were showing that the strike was not popular and support for it was damaging the opposition and not the government. The ruling party’s lead over the liberal “European Coalition” has increased over the past two weeks.

So the plan seems to be to suspend the action with the threat of renewing at the start of the school year in September. That will be just a few weeks before a general election takes place.

The teaching union now has time to digest lessons form its handling of the current strike before hostilities maybe resumed. It is not the best kept secret that many questioned the way they had threatened to disrupt exams.

But the government now also has time to reflect and reconsider how it may approach the issue. Many don’t like the tactics the teachers used, but that does not mean that they are unsympathetic to teachers receiving a better deal in return for some reform in conditions of service that could make it easier for headmasters to incentivise better performance among their staff.

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