«Indignation, respect and justice» are slogans of teachers on strike

Teachers are on a national strike, for an indefinite period, called by the Union of All Teachers (S.TO.P)

«There are three words that define our fight today: indignation, respect and justice. We are here to make the school better and to form young people who will be the future of our country». This is how teacher António Fechado, from Poeta António Aleixo Secondary School, in Portimão, defines the strike that this Friday, December 9th, is uniting teachers from all over the country.

In Portimão, most teachers also joined the strike at the EB23 D. Martinho Castelo Branco School.

«We demand that they pay attention to increasing the quality of the public school and not this unreasonable proposal, which is completely outside the organization of a good school», underlined, for his part, teacher Filipe Matos, from D. Martinho Castelo White.

At the door of both, dozens of teachers held yellow, red and white posters from the Union of All Teachers (S.TO.P) about the strike. There were also pamphlets with the reasons for the stoppage, which were being handed out to parents who were going to take their children to school and to the students themselves.

For their part, at Escola Básica e Secundária de Albufeira, the teachers on strike shouted slogans, accompanied by drums, such as «teachers who are fighting are also teaching»:



This Friday, teachers are on another national strike, this time for an indefinite period. The protest was convened by the Union of All Teachers (S.TO.P), which is against the proposals for a competition model for the placement of teachers.

The strike is causing disturbances in the functioning of schools, from North to South of the country. In the Algarve, to which the Sul Informação So far, there is a strong adherence to the strike in schools in the municipalities of Portimão (Secundária Poeta António Aleixo, EB23 D. Martinho Castelo Branco and Pontal), in Albufeira (Escola Básica e Secundária), Olhão, among other educational establishments in the region.

This strike takes place at a time when the Ministry of Education is in negotiations with the unions, which have been against most of the tutelage's proposals.

The Union of All Teachers contests the changes to the competition model for the placement of teachers and calls for improvement in career conditions, namely with regard to salaries, difficulties in changing levels, the freezing of service time, among others.

The Government wants to maintain the criteria for hiring teachers, but it wants a new placement model, transforming national competitions into municipal lists.

The integration of teachers will be decided by local boards of directors, who will not hire teachers directly. For the Minister of Education, these changes mean greater stability for teachers.

At Escola EB23 D. Martinho Castelo Branco, teacher Filipe Matos explained in detail to Sul Informação the reasons for the strike.

«The strike is related to the status of the teaching career and the way it was transformed many years ago. It has to do with salaries, it has a lot to do with the problem of quotas for access to the fifth and sixth step, which cause a very serious blockage to the career of teachers», he began by saying.

«There is no count of length of service, the Government does not intend to do this count. There is also the problem of the dynamic linking of those hired, the problem of municipalization of education and the intermunicipal commissions that will manage grants for hiring teachers for the supposed profile that no one yet knows what it is», he added.

It's all very strange what's in the government's proposals. Adding to 20 years of dropping out of public school, 20 years of denigrating the role of the teacher in public school, all this causes tremendous fatigue for teachers. And at this point, with this proposal in the State Budget, we thought it was time to fight and show our position to the country and parents. That's why we are at the school's door handing out pamphlets to parents, so that they know the reasons for defending the school to defend their children and not for the simple reason that we want to win something more», added António Fechado.

«It is obvious that we deserve to earn more wages, because we have lost about 20% in the last 15 years, and it is obvious that we feel that in our skin, but we feel much more the degradation of our work, excessive bureaucracy, demanding tasks and more tasks and it seems that the only task of the teacher being a teacher in the classroom is the only one that is unimportant: what you have are reports and plans and more plans, an exaggeration!», he concluded.

For his part, António Fechado, a teacher for 39 years, highlighted, and, statements to the Sul Informação, that «this strike reflects the indignation of the teachers for the way they have been treated by the Ministry of Education. For 20 years, our profession has been testing humiliation and outrage for the series of decisions that crush us and put us in a difficult work situation»

«The students are with us because they feel that we are good professionals and that they are on our side», he added.

And, in fact, alongside the teachers on strike, there were also some students supporting and participating, posters in hand.

Lourenço Vidal, 16 years old, in the 12th grade, recalled that «currently, nobody wants to be a teacher anymore and, therefore, if you think about it, when I become a father, I will want my children to be taught by people aged 12. th grade and don't have as good teachers as I do? Being a teacher is good, teaching is good. The human being is curious by nature and devaluing teachers like this is also devaluing teaching. Teachers are the foundation of society».

Tiago Vieira, also 16 years old, underlined that “the strike belongs to the teachers, but we are all fighting for the same cause, which is the right to our education. We are here because we want a better future. Without good teaching, without knowledge, the country does not move forward».

The S.TO.P claims that this strike is an “unprecedented form of struggle”, The protest was convened following a poll carried out on the ArLindo blog, where thousands of teachers supported the holding of this strike for an indefinite period.

The other teachers' unions, affiliated with Fenprof, did not join this stoppage, having only scheduled a demonstration for March 2023 and vigils in various parts of the country.

In some places, like Albufeira, the strike will continue on Monday, December 12th.


Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues|Sul Informação and DR