When Hungary’s two major teacher unions called for a two-hour “warning” strike for yesterday morning, they were helped by parents who took their children into school at 10am instead of 8am. And in the town of Győrszentiván, supporters organized an evening flash mob in solidarity with the striking teachers.
Maybe only about a fifth of teachers took part in the strike, but parents who supported them by not taking their children to school numbered in the hundreds or thousands. This is quite a big cry for help in education.
-Tamás Neubauer, President of the Democratic Union of Teachers (PDSZ) in Győr-Moson-Sopron County told RTL News.
Although school district leaders made it known that taking part would have consequences, unions estimate that around 20,000 teachers joined the effort. Teachers Union President Tamás Totyik said in the report that it was not written down anywhere, but school principals were verbally instructed to tell their colleagues that there would be retaliation for striking.
The Ministry of Human Resources (EMMI) also shared its side of the story, telling the news channel that it was aware of many cases where organizers made the work of those who didn’t take part in the strike difficult.
Educators want to continue negotiating with the government over their five demands, but are ready to strike again if need be. The terms of the next work stoppage would need to be agreed on as soon as possible. PDSZ board member Erzsébet Nagy said that if they see that the government is not receptive to their demands, they plan to file a lawsuit immediately.
EMMI sent a written statement to the channel saying:
There is no plan to continue the strike talks until the ongoing legal proceedings are finalized.
The court ruled in the first instance in favor of the unions on Friday, deciding that sufficient services could be provided during the strike, but the ministry still had five days after this to lodge an appeal.
If they are unable to reach an agreement with the government, the unions plan to strike again on March 16, this time for an indefinite length of time.