Government and teachers conclude negotiations today to recover service time

Less than a month after the first meeting, the negotiation process should be concluded today

Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação - File

This Tuesday, May 21st, the Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation (MECI) welcomes trade union organizations for the last negotiating meeting with a view to defining the terms for the recovery of teachers' service time.

The meetings begin at 11:00 am with the National Education Federation (FNE) and continue throughout the afternoon, starting at 14:30 pm with FENEI, SIPE, FEPECI, SPLIU and SNPL, followed by ASPL, SIPPEB, SEPLEU, Pró- Order and Stop at 16:00 pm and the National Federation of Teachers (Fenprof) from 17:30 pm.

Less than a month after the first meeting, the negotiation process should be concluded today, after the guardianship and unions have presented several proposals and counter-proposals.

The Government's most recent proposal, presented a week ago, provides for the return of 50% of the six years, six months and 23 days of service time frozen during the troika in the first two years, but maintains the five-year period of the initial proposal.

The intention is to return 25% in the first two years, 20% in 2026 and 15% in 2027 and 2028.

On the other hand, the Ministry approached the demands of teachers in other aspects, for example regarding the effects of the “accelerator” approved by the previous executive, which allowed the recovery of the time in which teachers were waiting for a vacancy so that they could progress to the 5th and 7th levels.

Minister Fernando Alexandre is already going to today's meetings to learn about the unions' new counterproposals. The two largest structures – Fenprof and FNE – make some concessions, but insist on the deadlines they have defended since the beginning of the negotiations.

Fenprof, on the one hand, maintains the return of service time at an annual average of 33% over three years, as of July 1st.

FNE, which began by proposing 30% in 2024, 30% in 2025, 20% in 2026 and the last 20% in 2027, came closer to the Government's position by changing its proposal to annual accounting of 25%, but maintains the four-year term.

Initially seen as a red line, the revocation of the diploma that implemented mechanisms to accelerate career progression, the so-called “accelerator”, is now accepted by the unions, as long as MECI maintains the commitments made last week.

Specifically, they want the guarantee of a place for progression to the 5th and 7th levels during the recovery period, as well as the guarantee that the time recovered under the decree-law will not be subtracted from the six years, six months and 23 days.

Despite some rapprochement, the Ministry and union federations remain at odds on one point: the authorities want the recovery of service time to serve only for the purpose of career progression, while the unions ask for compensation mechanisms for teachers who have already are at the top of their career or are about to retire in the meantime.

In addition to the minister, the Deputy Secretary of State for Education Alexandre Homem Cristo, the Secretary of State for Administration and Educational Innovation Pedro Dantas da Cunha and the Secretary of State for Public Administration Marisa Garrido will participate in the meeting.