Today is World Teachers’ Day, so the two main Hungarian trade unions, the PDSZ and the PSZ organised a demonstration for higher wages and a reduction of workload for today in Budapest. Students, teachers, parents and grandparents formed a live-chain for better education this morning in numerous places in Budapest. An hour ago they occupied the Margaret Bridge, one of the traffic hubs of the capital.
Budapest’s mayor, Gergely Karácsony, said earlier that he was on the side of the Hungarian teachers, so the capital’s community support officers would not interfere with the protesters. The question is what the police will do.
Here is a video:
Below you may read what the teachers would like to achieve with their protest and civil disobedience:
- immediate and significant payrise (starting from 50 percent)
- workload reduction
- free choice of schoolbooks
- changes regarding the National Curriculum.
- independent ministry for education
- renewal of some school buildings
Here you can read more about the background of today’s demonstration:
Read alsoVIDEO: teachers to occupy a Budapest bridge, traffic may collapse afternoon
Protesting students blocked central Budapest’s Margaret Bridge from traffic on Wednesday afternoon.
The demonstrators expressed support for striking teachers and a speaker called on participants to “recapture the hope and future together”. Participants chanted the slogan “no future without teachers” and held up a sign
“We stand by our teachers”.
Others held up the national colours, Szekler and Roma flags, as well as the flag of teachers’ trade union PDSZ. “Who is going to teach tomorrow?” the protesters wrote on a poster placed on the railing. The demonstrators occupied Jászai Mari Square and the eastern half of the bridge.
UPDATE: Unions express solidarity with teacher strike
Several trade unions voiced their solidarity with a nationwide strike organised by teachers’ union PDSZ across the country on Wednesday. Speaking in front of a Budapest primary school, Erzsebet Boross, the head of public servants’ union MKKSZ, expressed her union’s support for a demand for a 20 percent pay rise offsetting inflation to be paid retroactively from July 1. She voiced opposition to changes to occupational health and safety rules as well as the rule requiring state institutions to limit their heating to 18 degrees Celsius, MTI said.
Boross said the union demanded a right to strike that ensured fair wages and talks where the sides were considered equals. “We’ve had enough of public servants being condescended to and the fact that there are no consultations about working and living conditions or wage talks,” Boross said. She added that MKKSZ expected the government to treat public servants “as people . not as those on whom it can save money”.
Read alsoHungarian universities must save money: 18°C inside, dormitories close
László Nagy, head of the strike committee at Budapest’s Kölcsey Ferenc Secondary School, said that although he was one of the 45 teachers at the school who were participating in today’s strike, he was still required by law to teach four of his six classes.
“This is not a strike. It’s impossible to stage a strike like this,” he said. “A strike can’t be sustained if it can’t be seen.”
PDSZ national board head Anna Komjáthy said that some 13,000-14,000 teachers from more than 200 schools had been projected to take part in Wednesday’s strike. She said PDSZ has called another strike for Oct. 14, noting that it was on this day a year ago when PDSZ presented its demands jointly with fellow teacher union PSZ. István Taskovics, head of social security workers’ union TBDSZ, criticised the decision to suspend the regulation requiring an indoor temperature range of 20-22 degrees Celsius for workers.
Source: Facebook, DNH
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