Government weekly press briefing about teacher demonstration
Budapest, March 17 (MTI) – It is not the government that owes an apology to teachers after spending 266 billion forints over the past few years to hike wages in the sector, government office chief János Lázár said on Thursday.
Lázár: After hiking teachers’ wages, not government owes apology
Lázár was commenting on István Pukli, a headmaster who has become the symbolic leader of Hungary’s teacher protest movement, calling on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and President János Áder to apologise to teachers. Pukli said teachers would hold a strike unless leaders of the country apologised for bad policies over the past six years. Orbán said in response on Wednesday, that he took the teachers’ ultimatum as a joke.
Lázár said an apology is not a professional approach of the issue, adding that after spending 266 billion forints on wage hikes and 380 billion forints on EU developments in the education sector “it is not us who should apologise”.
He said there was “a political maneuvre” taking place in which teachers, schools and children were being used as tools.
The issue of education must be handled separately from this and discussed in the framework of the public education roundtable, said Lazar, asserting that the government is represented by the human resources minister and representatives of his ministry at the talks. The roundtable must be a forum for working out a solution, by taking into consideration the interests of teachers, students and their parents as well, he said.
The human resources ministry held professional talks with PSZ, one of the two largest teachers’ trade unions, on Wednesday, Lazar said, adding that out of PSZ’s 25 demands, a solution acceptable to both sides could be worked out in about 20.