NOTE! This site uses cookies

By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more detalis, see Read more

Accept

What are you looking for?


Teachers go on strike again to call for improved working conditions

6.19% of school staff participate in protest according to education department figures

SHARE

25 May 2022 12:47 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Teachers and students took to the streets on Wednesday, for the seventh day in 2022, to protest against the state the education sector is in. Professionals across all unions have been organizing several strikes unilaterally since March.

Teachers and student unions have been denouncing the conditions and calling for a negotiation table with the education ministry. However, this meeting has not yet happened and unions urge for a real negotiation to start soon.

According to the education ministry, 6.19% of education professionals joined the protest on Wednesday. In the Barcelona area, the percentage increased to 12.3%, while in the inland area of Lleida it dropped to 1.75%.

If the negotiation does not start soon, unions warn, they will continue demonstrating in September, once the academic year has started. In fact, this is one of the main reasons teachers, students, and administrative staff are protesting.

The education ministry announced early in 2022 that the 2022-23 academic year would start one week earlier than the previous years. And in the first month of the course, students would have morning classes only.

However, the Catalan cabinet believes it will benefit families and children as their aim is to help the work-life balance of families and "reduce the gap between courses," Pere Aragonès, the president said in February. Equal opportunity among kids was also sought since the lowest-income families cannot afford certain summer activities.

At the time, Aragonès said the current gap between courses is "too big," given that the break between courses lasts around 80 days. "It is one of the longest in Europe," added education minister Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray then, clarifying that however, the total number of course hours is similar to other countries and the number of hours will continue to be the same.

Unions have acknowledged they are "tired" after mobilizing for several days and the fact that this new mobilization happens when the academic year is almost over, as it finishes on June 22. 

However, the USTEC teachers’ union spokesperson, Iolanda Segura, has announced that they will continue fighting against the education ministry. They have been sending "constraining messages and threats," against those who go on strike, Segura claimed. 

This is the first day of strikes in May, after a partial strike on May 17. Unions have scheduled another strike for June 9, and a partial one on June 2. 

Strikes in March

The changes announced by the government did not satisfy the education sector that already organized five days of strikes in March. At the same time, unions called for demonstrations, and the first one organized surpassed 22,000 protesters.

Despite having been peaceful demonstrations, the education ministry condemned the acts. One of these protests happened during the Education sector fair in Barcelona, at the time, several teachers and students forced Gonzàlez-Cambray from inaugurating the event because of the pressure. 

What are these protests about?

Teachers' unions are against the announced changes to the school curriculum, which include reducing hours of instruction of certain subjects, a greater focus on language learning and the development of technological skills, and modifying the grading scale, as well as starting the academic year a week earlier than usual. 

And even though Cambray has stated that schools in Catalonia will not have to implement curriculum changes next academic year if they do not want to, this has not been enough to appease unions, who call out what they describe as the government's "deceit" following an unsuccessful round of talks with authorities. 

Protesters are in favor of increased funding for public services and maintain the issue "is not about 5 vacation days" that would be lost if the academic year were to start a week earlier than usual, but rather about "10 years of budget cuts," and want to reduce the number of teaching hours per teacher to pre-2012 austerity measure levels.  

They also say the Catalan language immersion system must be protected despite the Supreme Court ruling imposing a 25% Spanish language quota. 

On Wednesday, Iolanda Segura commented on the deal reached between several political parties to protect the Catalan language in schools. However, she confirmed that education unions had not had the time to analyze it, but she expects to have different opinions on the matter.

But, they are all united in the will to protect the language and protect school staff from judicial repercussions. 

The education department, meanwhile, says that they do not have the budget to meet each and every one of the unions' demands at once.

Filling the sink podcast

Listen to our Filling the Sink podcast to learn more about the immersion system, the reasons behind language immersion and why it's in jeopardy.

SHARE

  • A kid waving a CGT flag during a teachers and students demonstration in Barcelona on May 25, 2022 (by Jordi Borràs)

  • Education sector staff whistling against the education ministry in a teachers demonstration in Barcelona on May 25, 2022 (by Jordi Borràs)

  • A teacher holding a 'Bye Bye Cambray' sign in reference to the education minister in a demonstration in Barcelona on May 25, 2022 (by Jordi Borràs)

  • Teachers and students demonstrate for the seventh day in 2022 in Barcelona against the education ministry on May 25, 2022 (by Jordi Borràs)

  • Education sector demonstrating in Barcelona on May 25, 2022 (by Jordi Borràs)

  • A kid waving a CGT flag during a teachers and students demonstration in Barcelona on May 25, 2022 (by Jordi Borràs)
  • Education sector staff whistling against the education ministry in a teachers demonstration in Barcelona on May 25, 2022 (by Jordi Borràs)
  • A teacher holding a 'Bye Bye Cambray' sign in reference to the education minister in a demonstration in Barcelona on May 25, 2022 (by Jordi Borràs)
  • Teachers and students demonstrate for the seventh day in 2022 in Barcelona against the education ministry on May 25, 2022 (by Jordi Borràs)
  • Education sector demonstrating in Barcelona on May 25, 2022 (by Jordi Borràs)

RELATED