Square on Wednesday. According to the Trade Union of Teachers, Researchers and Cultural Workers (SVIZ), more than 40,000 teachers across Slovenia cancelled their classes. “It was the largest such rally ever staged in Slovenia,” SVIZ head Branimir Štrukelj said.
The strikers demand a pay increase of two to three brackets, bonuses for form teachers, and a higher holiday allowance (1,200 euros) for those making minimum wage. Unless the government addresses their demands, the strikers promised to strike again on March 14.
Štrukelj: “Dear colleagues, your voices are being heard!”
Addressing the crowd in Ljubljana, Štrukelj thanked those parents who left their kids at home, stressing that more than 90 percent of all primary schools in Slovenia were closed on Wednesday. He reiterated that they had exhausted all other options and that the government had turned a deaf ear to their pleas.
“The work of teachers in this country has been devalued. This has been going on since 2012, and we strictly oppose this trend. We believe that everyone has the right to quality public education, but adequate pay is a necessary condition for this,” Štrukelj said.
Minister sympathetic to strikers
Education, Science and Sport Minister Maja Makovec Brenčič said after the rally that the Ministry “takes the unions’ demands very seriously”, adding she would work hard to make sure that teachers and staff would be adequately compensated. Brenčič also said that the teaching profession had to be made a desirable career choice again: “In this mandate, the government unfroze promotions. Moreover, we will continue hiring young people.”