Teachers' unions call off beginning of school year strikes after deal with authorities

An hour less of teaching from January 2023

Education minister Cambray and teachers' union members on September 1, 2022 (by Martí Rodríguez)
Education minister Cambray and teachers' union members on September 1, 2022 (by Martí Rodríguez) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 1, 2022 07:10 PM

The 2022-2023 school year will begin in Catalonia next Monday with no Covid restrictions for the first time in three years – and with no strikes, as teachers' unions and the Education Department announced an agreement Thursday evening. 

The deal will see primary and secondary school teachers teach an hour less from January 2023, as had already been proposed by education minister Josep González Cambray a day earlier, but which teachers had initially hoped would begin in September. 

Cambray, who called the deal "historic," estimates it will mean 3,500 more teachers will have to be hired, costing a total of €170m. 

The minister met with union representatives at the Catalan labor ministry building in Barcelona on Thursday, where an agreement was signed and teachers officially called off the protests that had been planned for September 7 and 28. 

Elisabet Pericas, a teachers' union member, described the deal as a victory: "the struggle has paid off" as authorities "have been forced to sign an agreement."

Teachers protests

The 2021-2022 academic year was marked by frequent protests against announced curriculum changes and to the school calendar. 

Although Cambray stated that curriculum changes, such as reducing the hours of instruction of certain subject matters or modifying the grading scale, would not have to be implemented this year after all, school is still starting a week earlier than usual in Catalonia. 

The politician has also affirmed on multiple occasions that schools will not have to implement Spain's Supreme Court's 25% Spanish language in classrooms quota – another matter teachers have spoken out against – as the Catalan public school system ensures that students learn both languages proficiently.