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Teachers union green lights strikes in 2016

Pedagógusok Szakszervezete (PSZ), one of Hungary’s two main teachers unions, has resolved to hold street demonstrations and even strikes, should it come to that, if the government refuses to make concessions on serious issues concerning the state of Hungary’s public education system, reports Hungarian news site nol.hu. Chief among the union’s demands is that sweeping changes be made to the way in which public education is funded which, according to the union, does not ensure the smooth operation of public schools.

It was at the congress of the teachers union on December 5 that Hungarian teachers urged their union to enter into talks with the government over pressing changes that are desperately needed in the education system.

Delegates to the congress authorized union president Istvánné Gálló to enter into talks with representatives of the government in hopes that pressing education issues be resolved.

In the event that talks are unsuccessful (or fail to take place), the union will hold street demonstrations and even organize strikes at public schools.

On November 23, the union sent a letter informing the Prime Minister of the state of Hungary’s public education system. The letter urged him to respond in merit to the union’s concerns and proposals before the congress in early December.

Undersecretary for public education Judit Bertalan Czunyiné responded on December 2 to the teachers union’s letter, but the union rejected her response at the December 5 congress on grounds that it avoided responding to the specifics of the letter.

In addition to formally rejecting the undersecretary’s response, the congress also voted to call

  • on the government to address numerous problems affecting the financing and smooth operation of public schools which are being caused by KLIK (the government’s national public education umbrella organization);
  • on the government to prepare an in-depth analysis of the state of public education in recent years for the benefit of a parliamentary debate;
  • on the teachers union president to enter in immediate deliberations concerning a report by the union that details the state of public education; and,
  • on the teachers union president to prepare for street demonstrations and strikes in 2016 should the deliberations with the government prove to be unsuccessful.

The union also decided to send yet another letter to the prime minister voicing their concerns.

The decision to open the way for strikes was made with an overwhelming vote of the union’s delegates: 124 representatives in favor, 1 against and 1 abstention.

Benjamin Novak :