Portuguese Government moves
violent attack against teachers
violent attack against teachers
The Portuguese Government, chaired by José Sócrates and elected less than a year ago, is already responsible for the biggest attack ever made in Democratic Portugal against workers in general, but, especially, against teachers and educators.
What measures have been taken without effective negotiation processes taking place? fact that has already led FENPROF to make two complaints to the Director-General of the ILO? imposed the freezing of career progression, the failure to count the length of service provided between August 30, 2005 and December 31, 2006 (theft of almost a year and a half of service for the purpose of career development), the worsening of conditions retirement (which will pass from 60 years of age and 36 years of service, to 65/40) and the reduction or elimination of several social rights.
Taking advantage of the summer holidays, in the middle of August, the Ministry of Education had already published, without negotiating, two legal diplomas that significantly altered the organization and duration of teachers' working hours, as well as important aspects of the organization and functioning of schools.
Now, arriving in December and wanting to take advantage of the absence of teachers in schools due to the Christmas period, the Ministry of Education intends to approve a new decree on competitions for placement of teachers, whose main objective is to liquidate the annual period (kindergarten teachers) , teachers from the 3rd Cycle and Secondary Education will compete only every 3 years; teachers from the 1st and 2nd Cycles of Basic Education will compete every 4 years). Once again, teachers and FENPROF disagree with this measure, which will be extremely damaging to the right that everyone should be recognized to, annually, try to approach the geographical area of their family residence.
The biggest and most violent attack, however, is what is foreseen for March: the Government's attempt to liquidate the Teaching Career Statute, an essential instrument for defining and regulating the profession and the teaching profession. Loosely, the ME / Government has already started to change very important aspects of the teachers' career, namely related to working hours, organization of the teaching and non-teaching components and retirement. Now, the Government intends, in a more global way, to deliver the most severe blow ever committed by a Government against Portuguese teachers and their professional and career status.
Portuguese teachers and educators have not been resigned to this situation and since June, when they went on a four-day strike, they have promoted numerous actions and struggles against government policy and measures.
The most recent of the fights took place in November, on the 18th, when 85% of Portuguese teachers joined the National Strike called by FENPROF leading to the closure of about half of Portuguese schools according to information from the Government itself, in addition to the high rates of adhesion in schools that have remained open. On the 18th of November, one of the biggest Teachers' Demonstrations ever took place in Portugal, with around 10,000 demonstrators marching in Lisbon, according to calculations by the police itself. Together with the Ministry of Education, teachers spontaneously started shouting in unison "Minister goes to the street!" giving voice to a feeling that begins to be generalized throughout the teaching class. A feeling that stems not only from the measures, but from the whole campaign that has been promoted by the Ministry of Education, with public opinion, in order to degrade the social image of teachers.
The struggle of teachers, in the face of the continued attack by the Ministry of Education and the Government, is about to continue, and the words and messages of solidarity that have come from friends and colleagues from other countries are very important.
The fight we are fighting is very tough, but given the deeply negative nature of the attack that is being moved on, we have no alternative but to continue fighting.
Member of the FENPROF National Secretariat