The Polish Teachers’ Union informed that if the minister of education and science, Przemysław Czarnek, did not comply with their demands, they would start a formal dispute with the government. This could be the first step to organizing a strike. – We are strengthening our activities and we encourage other union headquarters to do so – comments Magdalena Kaszulanis, a spokeswoman for the PNA.
The conflict between Czarnek and the largest trade union active in education – the Polish Teachers’ Union, which has about 200,000 members, has been growing in recent days. When on November 8, trade unionists met with Chairman Donald TuskMinister Czarnek accused them of politicization and argued on social media that the PNA lost its mandate to represent teachers. In response, trade unionists in social media reminded that when PiS was in opposition, representatives of this party also met with the PNA.
On Wednesday, November 10, the main board of the PNA sent a letter to Czarnek, in which he announced that he would ask the remaining union headquarters to start a dispute with the government. It is about over 70 thousand. members of the educational center “Solidarity” and the approximately 10,000-strong Trade Union Forum.
The PNA has conditions
The situation will not aggravate – informs the PNA – if the minister meets the demands of trade unionists.
In their letter to the minister, we read: “The seven-month talks did not bring the PNA closer to reaching a consensus and signing an agreement with the Ministry of Education and Science. The Presidium of the ZG PNA believes that the formula for the work of the Team for the professional status of education workers has been exhausted. Of the Minister of Education and Science until November 18, 2021 with changes to the Teacher’s Charter and an unequivocal declaration from Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on the commencement of work on a new system of remunerating teachers related to the average salary in the economy and an increase in teachers’ salaries from January 1, 2022. “
Amendments to the Teacher’s Charter, which trade unionists write about, include the increase in the number of hours proposed by Minister Czarnek, i.e. the number of hours spent by teachers at the blackboard. Czarnek proposes to raise them from 18 hours to 22.
The PNA is also critical of the proposed solutions for the teacher remuneration system, the amount of educational subsidy and pension solutions.
Starting a collective labor dispute may be the first step in organizing a teachers’ strike. The last time such a situation occurred in 2019 – the ZNP and the FZZ were in dispute then. “S” did not officially participate in it. This union was the only one that signed an agreement with the government in 2019. It assumed, inter alia, linking teachers’ salaries with the average salary in the economy. This is what all the trade unions are calling for today. Minister Czarnek sees no such need.
“S” surprised and devastated
As a result, the rulers are now in trouble with “Solidarity”. – There is no money to improve working conditions. There is no question of standardization, which we have been calling for for many years and which local governments have also been demanding for many years. We are dealing with anti-educational rhetoric. We are surprised and devastated – this is how Ryszard Proksa, chairman of the National Education and Upbringing Section of NSZZ “Solidarity”, spoke about MEiN’s proposals on changes in working time and salaries for teachers. An interview which was very critical of the government was given to “News of the day” on Radio Maryja.
On the same day, Minister Czarnek spoke in a completely different tone about the talks with “S”. When asked if “Solidarity” called the ministry’s proposal a “provocation”, negotiations between the government and trade unions could still take place, Czarnek replied: – Of course, negotiations can continue and will continue. As far as I know, a meeting is also planned in the coming days in the group of: Prime Minister, head of Solidarity, head of Teachers’ Solidarity, informed the minister.
But when we tried to confirm this information in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, we heard that the Prime Minister’s calendar does not currently include any meetings with this or other trade unions. For such a meeting of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki with representatives of all headquarters, trade unionists appealed after the last meeting with Czarnekon October 22.
At tvn24.pl, we are looking at the ideas of Minister Przemysław Czarnek and his advisers. We translate the official language of laws and regulations into the language of school practice for you. We assess with experts whether what is behind these ideas and proposed solutions will be beneficial for students and teachers. We check whether the autonomy of schools is at stake and whether parents will actually 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: Leszek Szymański / PAP