“It is obvious that the teacher strike announced for January and March is part of a campaign by the left,” responded the Ministry of Human Resources (Emmi) to news of the warning strike announced by Hungary’s public school teachers on Wednesday.
As previously reported, teacher unions decided to take more drastic steps to address problems in education following another unsuccessful round of strike negotiations. Emmi also reacted to the strike, announced for January 31 and March 16, by saying that the teachers are being directed by none other than former Prime Minister and current DK Chair Ferenc Gyurcsány (pictured).
As the ministry put it:
The left pulls the teacher unions on a string during every election campaign, persuading them into political acts. It does this by putting thousands of educators on the streets when the left is in power, depriving them of a month’s salary and keeping them employed for humiliatingly low wages.
Emmi noted that “the unions, under the influence of Gyurcsány’s party, are still declaring a strike after getting a comprehensive pay raise, while another 10% increase in teacher salaries will come into force in January, followed by yet another pay raise in 2023.”
The ministry also claims that unions have been inconsistent about vaccinations. Just this past spring, teachers had asked for a return to in-person education only once they’d been vaccinated, but now are rejecting vaccine mandates.
In the last few months of the epidemic, children and parents have already spent a lot of time at home, which has caused learning difficulties for many. Another period without teaching due to a teacher strike would place an additional, undue burden on both children and parents.
-Emmi wrote, adding that they were still open to strike negotiations scheduled to continue on 12 January.
But the Teachers’ Union claims that Deputy State Secretary László Kisfaludy has so far lacked openness in the talks.
Until now, we had been hoping to get results at the negotiating table, but to no avail. We are announcing a warning strike because we have run out of patience.
-said union representative Zsuzsa Szabó on the situation.