Raises for teachers in exchange for an extension of the working hours? Such a proposal by Minister Przemysław Czarnek was discussed on Monday, September 27, by the main board of the Polish Teachers’ Union, the largest association operating in education. – We have adopted a position in which we reject the minister’s proposals in its entirety – informed the president of the PNA Sławomir Broniarz. We asked him if there would be a teachers’ strike like in 2019. – We must take such an extreme solution into account – he admitted.
Hot talks about how teachers should work and be paid started in spring between the minister of education, Przemysław Czarnek, and the trade unions. In May, Czarnek established sub-teams, in which ministerial officials were to discuss government proposals, incl. with representatives of teachers and local government officials. The talks did not take place in the best atmosphere, and at the beginning of July representatives of all union headquarters informed that the negotiations were breaking up.
However, this did not discourage Minister Czarnek, who instructed his subordinates to continue working on the proposals regarding the professional status of teachers. It was, among others, o the amount of the pensum, or compulsory hours “at the blackboard”. Today, the teacher’s work week is 40 hours a week, as in other industries, but the working week is 18 (and in the case of kindergartens 25) hours a week. The rest of the time teachers spend, among others for checking student works, meetings with parents or training.
Minister: more pay for longer work
Last week, Minister Czarnek met with trade unionists and announced that he wanted to give teachers a raise and shorten the path of career advancement, but in return for an extension of the working hours.
The minister proposes to increase the weekly compulsory number of hours for teachers by four (except for pre-school teachers). In return, he claims, teachers’ salaries will increase significantly. Currently, the basic salary of a trainee teacher is PLN 2,949 – it is to increase to PLN 4,010. in the case of contract teachers it is an increase from PLN 3,034 to PLN 4,010, appointed teachers from PLN 3,445 to PLN 4,540, and for those with the longest experience, i.e. certified teachers, it would increase from PLN 4,046 to PLN 5,130. All these are gross amounts.
Czarnek announced that the ministry was waiting for written statements on the proposal until October 8, and that on October 22, another meeting of the team for the professional status of education workers would take place.
ZNP: We have enough
After the meeting, representatives of the PNA, the Trade Union Forum (FZZ) and the educational Solidarity were very critical about the ideas. On Monday, September 27, the presidium of the management board of the PNA, which is the largest of the trade unions active in education, met on this matter (it has 200,000 members, for comparison “S” has 70,000 and the FZZ has 10,000).
– We fully reject the proposed changes – said Sławomir Broniarz after the meeting and read the brief position of the union. Trade unions call the solutions proposed by the minister “an extreme manifestation of disregard for teachers, giving rise to protest actions”. They emphasize that the minister’s idea assumes that “teachers themselves will cover the costs of increasing remuneration”, because some of them will lose their jobs as a result of the changes. On the one hand, a higher number of students means that fewer teachers, e.g. English teachers, will be needed in the country. And those teachers with short school hours, such as physicists, will struggle to get a full-time job in one school.
– We are fed up with this disrespect, this is not how the prestige of the profession is built – said Broniarz and appealed to other unions to act together. He informed that the PNA was planning a nationwide demonstration in Warsaw on this matter. He did not give her a date.
After the press conference, we asked Broniarz if there would be a teachers’ strike as in 2019? – More and more often I hear from teachers that despite the trauma of the strike in 2019, because we must remember that it was a difficult time for all of us, we must take such an extreme solution seriously – admitted the president of the PNA.
At tvn24.pl, we are looking at the ideas of Minister Przemysław Czarnek and his advisers; we will be doing this throughout the school year. We will translate the official language of laws and regulations into the language of school practice. We will assess with the experts whether what is behind these ideas and proposed solutions will be beneficial for students and teachers. We will check whether the autonomy of schools is at risk. And will parents really have an impact on the education and upbringing of their children? All this – articles, interviews, videos, interactive infographics, research reports – can be found on our website under the slogan #continuously.
Main photo source: Paweł Supernak / PAP