Teachers' union calls strike for January 25 and 26, coinciding with doctors' protests

USTEC organization now wants 2008 crisis budget cuts to be reversed after deal with education ministry in September

Teachers protesting in Barcelona on March 15, 2022 (by María Belmez)
Teachers protesting in Barcelona on March 15, 2022 (by María Belmez) / ACN
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

December 23, 2022 12:49 PM

December 23, 2022 03:46 PM

Teachers' union USTEC has called a two-day strike on January 25 and 26 to demand better working conditions and "a quality public education."

The protest has been scheduled for the same day as the doctors' strike organized by Metges de Catalunya union.

In a press conference on Friday, USTEC representatives explained that they are still seeking to see the budget cuts stemming from the 2008 financial crisis to be reversed. Still, the education ministry has not made any "relevant" proposal on this topic.

Therefore, the organization calls on the sector to protest "to defend public services" and believes it comes as no surprise that both teachers and doctors will go on strike at the same time because they are "the most badly affected sectors" Iolanda Segura, USTEC's spokesperson, said. 

Protests will be focused on "once and for all," making sure that both sectors "have a priority in the spending plan and the government's policies," she added.

Deal in September

Teachers already led a wave of strikes and protests in spring and planned to begin the 2022-2023 academic year with more rallies. Yet they halted all demonstrations just before schools were to reopen in early September when they reached a deal with the education ministry that will see primary and secondary school teachers teach an hour less from next month.

The education minister, Josep González-Cambray called the deal "historic" and said it would mean 3,500 more teachers would be hired, costing €170m. 

The agreement was significant because all unions signed it, but they also warned that they wanted to see a plan for reversing the rest of the budget cuts of the early 2010s by December.

However, for the USTEC representatives, "it was obvious that we would have to call on a new strike," as they did not see any progress during this first academic course quarter. 

"We urged to see changes during these months to see the return of conditions after the financial crisis cuts," Segura said before adding that they "went to several meetings, but the education department has not proposed any credible offer."

Doctors' strike continues

Meanwhile, on Friday, doctors kept their strike despite the Catalan health minister, Manel Balcells, signing an agreement with several unions to get a collective labor regulation.

The leader signed with CCOO, UGT, and SATSE nurses unions but not with Metges de Catalunya, which called for the strike to be organized.

The early deal means that Salut (the health department) will invest €460 million extras in 2023 to ensure that the work regulation is complied with. Among the new achievements from unions is a salary increase of up to 3.5%, a revert to the 2010 budget cuts, improved salaries after reaching objectives, and on-call conditions.