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March 28, 2023

Large-scale protest of education workers in Bucharest

More than 7,000 employees of the education sector marched Wednesday through Bucharest, demanding the allocation of 6 pc of the GDP to education and the increase of personnel expenses.
The list of demands includes a wage law that will increase by 50 pc the salaries of debutant teachers and instate a maximum ratio of 2:1 between the maximum and minimum base salary for the same job in the system. “This is the only solution in order to make the profession of teacher attractive, so the well-trained youths are stimulated to embrace a didactic career,” said the representatives of the Federation of Free Trade Union of Education (FSLI), which organised the protest, Mediafax reports.
“Armed” with whistles, flags and banners displaying messages like “Without school – an illiterate people” and “respect the human resource of the education, or it will leave,” teachers from Bucharest and many counties of Romania met at the Piata Victoriei Square, in front of the government headquarters. They shouted slogans against the Ponta cabinet, which they accused of lying, because it did not keep the promises it made to the education sector in the ruling programme of USL. “Solidarity!,” “General strike!,” “Nations die without education,” “Six percent!,” “The USL government is same as PDL” and “Out with the liar government!” – are just few of the slogans shouted by teachers. A protester, dressed as a beggar, was carrying a billboard with the message “We die, yo0u die too.”
According to FSLI leader Simion Hancescu, the trade unionists sent the government an “appeal” in which they urge it to observe the ruling programme. Hancescu also warned that a referendum might be organised next week, in which the employees of the education sector will decide if they will go on general strike during the European elections or before the end of the school year. A delegation of the trade unions was received, at the Victoria Palace, by the minister of Education, Remus Pricopie, and the delegate minister for Social Dialogue, Doina Pana, for talks over the teachers’ demands. The outcome of these discussions is still unknown.
From the government, the teachers marched to the Palace of the Parliament, with the first row of protesters wearing T-shirts imprinted with letters that formed the message “SAVE THE EDUCATION.” The column marched on Calea Victoriei – the Natiunile Unite Bridge – the Natiunile Unite Blvd. – the Libertatii Blvd. – the Piata Constitutiei Square. Traffic along this route and on adjacent roads was restricted during the rally.
The protest was also attended by the leader of the National Alliance of Student Organisation of Romania (ANOSR), Mihai Dragos, who said that the students from Bucharest and other university centres support the teachers’ demands and their rally through a Japanese strike. In his turn, the National Council of Pupils (CNE) announced its support for the protests organised by the education personnel.
On October 30, over 400 members of FSLI picketed for three days the headquarters of the government and USL, but Federation officials announced that the action had no result and the attitude of the government pushes teachers to the final protest – a general strike. In their turn, the members of the ‘Spiru Haret’ and ‘Alma Mater’ trade union federations protested Monday in Bucharest, by picketing the Palace of the Parliament.

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