Indefinite teachers strike in Slovakia has started

Indefinite teachers strike in Slovakia has started

Teachers in Slovakia have begun an indefinite strike today. They demand higher wages, more money to be invested into education and changes in the system of teachers’ further education. The strike is organized by the Initiative of Slovak Teacher (ISU; www.isu.sk) which is an independent network of teachers regardless of union affiliation.

Today a demonstration took place in Bratislava despite bad rainy weather with around 1500-2000 teachers, pupils and supporters present. Among the speakers there were strike committee members as well as representatives of the doctors’ union, nurses and obstetricians (who gave notices en masse at the end of November 2015 to fight for higher wages; next week the notice period ends for several hundreds of those who have stood the enormous intimidation and harassment until now) and a few public figures on the part of the parents.

Protesters later moved from a square in the center to the building of the parliament where the protest ended.

There were around 300 schools closed and some hundreds in limited operation today (there are around 5000 schools in Slovakia). More than 11 000 teachers took part from over 720 elementary, primary and secondary schools altogether.

Priama akcia (IWA Slovakia)

Source (+photos): http://www.priamaakcia.sk/Indefinite-teachers-strike-in-Slovakia-has-sta...

You will find more information about events that led to the strike in the next External bulletin of the International Workers’ Association.

Posted By

MT
Jan 25 2016 20:45

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Bambuľka kvantová
Feb 17 2016 23:13

Vasil2, can you clarify whether this harassment letters from university leadership in Kosice and Presov is being effective? Is it discouraging people to join in? Someone posted such a letter on the IVU fb and the university vice chancellor (that's I think a British equivalent to his top position) is even asking the members of staff who are not striking to cover the classes for their striking colleagues! So, in other words, scabbing! But has he got an effective power to stop striking activity in the building? As far as I know, one of the academic liberties achieved during the Czechoslovakian revolution in November 1989 was the autonomy of university as an institution, including a ban on the police to enter the premises. So he can't call in the cops... I guess it's mainly a psychological weapon and it would be great if the strikers from Bratislava managed to make it to the East to support the fledgling strike over there (if needed).

MT
Feb 18 2016 20:32

Around 1000 people at the demo in Bratislava today. I would say that mostly university students. Several faculties had their own banners. Not really an impressive event. One of the guest speakers (a professor) had a speach that young people should take part in elections next month because lesser evil is better than bigger evil (which, of course meant, that people should vote against SMER, which of course means that they should vote centrist or rightwing parties). I think this was the first time at a public event that I've heard a speaker openly calling people to vote (at least in Bratislava, but I may be wrong, as I did not follow evertyhing).

There is at least one teacher from 19 universities on strike currently and more faculties are joining in. Some of the teachers, however, teach at the same time, so it is more of a symbolic gesture from them.

The strike for the 3 demands (see initial post) will continue next week, which means it will enter its 5th week.

jura
Feb 18 2016 22:10

Yeah, unfortunately there was quite a lot of electoralist propaganda today. The movement is extremely contradictory. On the one hand, the demands are proletarian in terms of content – higher wages, equality of access to education, better working conditions – but on the other hand, the form is often bourgeois. Throughout all of this I keep swinging from being fascinated and disgusted by it. The good things (on the most general level) that can still come out of it are: 1. a nationwide wildcat strike is possible with some effort, 2. a solidarity wildcat strike is possible, too. I hope these two messages are not washed out by the election circus.

jura
Feb 18 2016 22:21

BTW it was interesting to hear the letter from Hungarian university teachers today. (They're protesting too because of Orban's attacks on academic freedom.) It mentioned a previous (successful) fight against the introduction of tuition fees at universities. There was a similar fight some 12 years ago in Slovakia (likewise successful). I wonder how many people noticed this and made the connection. Some of the parties that are supposedly the "lesser evil" would make students pay for college before you can say "fee".

vasil2
Feb 18 2016 22:47

- Letters from Dean. - the first protester, member of strike commitee, who took emotional speech in Bratislava about necessarity of joining the strike recieved a letter from dean. Other two of her collegues went to meet the dean and had a talk with her. It seems that nothing special happened and they still continue in strike. The number of striking teachers is growing slowly, but still growing. There is a "good word" or non official promisse that they can use all the "free rooms" at university for discussions from the rector.

- At philosophycal faculty they were not allowed to teach (since they wanted to have their "strike lessons" for free) and book the rooms. Fortunately the situation in Natural Science faculty is OK and we are using their rooms for meetings

- students apathy - there are two passionate groups of students trying to find ways to their collegues and teachers by meeting them and "everyday talking" but there is still small number of students joining the discussions. But they are encouraging each other in very emotional way. New - third group of students is forming at Department of arts hoping to "use some methods of anarchist tradition" (end of quote) smile so i am really looking foreward to their creativity.

- the biggest problem for me in this situation is, that they are not trying to form a net of active contacts and some kind of strike commitee with regular meetings and planning the events for the future. Everything is made and prepared last minute so there is very short time to spread the information.

MT
Feb 20 2016 23:44

Good to hear these relatively good news from Košice!

Here are some updates mostly but not solely related to Bratislava:

The initiative of parents that refuses to send their kids to school on Fridays continued today and the number of kids more than doubled compared to last week (numbers are known for two schools in Bratislava and it is altogether 1252 kids compared to 504 last Friday). (At least in Bratislava it could be partly explained by the fact that 3 faculties opened their spaces for the kids and prepared lectures.)

As of today you can see the number of uni teachers on strike on www.isu.sk along with the number of universities where there is at least one teacher on strike (currently it is 492/19).

Some comments to jura:

As for the anti-tuition fight, that is quite an interesting thing to me, because I feel like if this episode is completely forgotten. Even I haven't thought about it as something that could be of any relevance with what is going on now (I was an active participant in the organizing and mobilization of the anti-tuition struggle;) And I am still not sure if it is. But perhaps it would be a stereotype to say that the students don't realize the threat of tuition that the right-wing parties could push forward. On the other there is a mass of voters who don't follow any party programmes when deciding about their votes. Even my younger colleagues tell me how good it was when the right-wing coalition was in power over a decade ago (when, shortly put, Slovakia became a neoliberal experiment)... The longer the SMER is in the government, the more people tend to forget the neoliberal economic bullshit (SMER managed to create their own bullshit of course, but to some this means that opposition would be better, if able to create a government).

As for the Hungarian protests, it surprises me that they are not about economic demands, but to be honest, I don't really follow what is going on over there.

EDIT: Corrected number of kids that absented.

Bambuľka kvantová
Feb 20 2016 18:02

Pretty bad to hear that the strike has been abused to encouraging students to go to vote. As MT said, asking people who are in conflict with the government to get out and vote can only lead to chasing votes for the opposition. Lots of people on fb had been accusing ISU/IVU of their links to the opposition anyway, so this will just make things worse. I don't see the reason why IVU could not issue a ban on any references to the upcoming elections during any events organized by IVU, regardless of whether it's a member or a guest speaker?! Saving the non-party political character of the strike is essential for its chances to grow, especially in the regions, and it should be priority number ONE, even if liberal plurality should be sacrificed.

More stuff on Hungarian teachers (can any Hungarian libcommers chip in please?):

http://budapestbeacon.com/news-in-brief/hungarian-teachers-continue-with...

http://hungarianspectrum.org/2016/01/27/social-media-and-political-chang...

How I wish this could hit a proper blow to the bloody reactionary Visegrad Block!

majo
Feb 20 2016 21:47

Many thanks to people from Slovakia for your direct reports! Too bad for me, that I am currently not able to visit Slovakia as well.
It is really good to hear that the working situation (working class issues, as Jura has put it) is keeping to be the core of discussions and some networks are emerging.
I have heard in several media a notion that "the strike (of elementary and high school) teachers was a great success already, because now we talk about education." It is my impressions, that this could be a slippery part, which could help to shift the meaning of strike closer to burgeois values. Also I think it is important to judge the success of strike according to its achieved targets. So if the teachers don't win in the end (do not achieve better working conditions), it might not be only a positive experience for them as a group struggling of working class. But as it was also well pointed out by the member of IVU (hear the radio interview) that the government is also starting to send some ambiguous (nevertheless crypted and _very_ blurry) signals.
Also, regarding the mentioned connections with 1989 and 1968. I find this somehow interesting. I was always astonished of frequent stupid mixing up of the term "strike" with, demonstration, picket and other symbolical actions and was linking this to the tradition of 1989 which included a general strike, but is remembered for the spectacle of rallies in the first place. But there is now this perception that strike is a political action. An elementary school teacher in her mid 40s I have talked to compared this strike with 1989 and the teachers' strike from 2012 (organized by unions, bottom-up and on subjective level consisting of simply "staying at home for three days and then going back to work"). She was enthusiastic about the current "real" strike -- because they've organized among themselves on the workplace, were going to discussions and demonstrations, drove to other towns, had internal meetings and discussed tactics etc.
As a bottom line: "Of course" ironically, she is also now enthusiastic for going to vote against Smer and SNS (nationalists) for right-wing in the new elections. :-/
Also, the connection with the anti-tuition struggle is very interesting and would be worth an analysis. I was also involved back-then but I have to admit, that my memories are so blurry already... For what I recall tactics of students involved essentially symbolical actions. To what degree did they contribute to the success of the struggle and to what degree collapsed the right-wing offensive because of other factors? Could anything be drawn from this today? ...

MT
Feb 20 2016 23:43

Anti-tuition activities were not a strike. A somewhat informal committee was created but the strike never materialized and there was basically no mobilization of students at particular faculties. I would have to check but if I remember well, the tuition idea was dropped down because the government was not able to make it happen before the end of its term and then those parties were not in the coalition anymore. So, to me it was not a real win but rather a coincidence (although it was presented as a victory of the students initiative by some back then).

As for the elections now. One can hardly expect consistency in such a movement (and seeing what is going on, I might even say in any movement). We wish things were happening this or that way, but it is a living thing. You can do something here or there, but you can't expect people will not vote. (Although I think it really could and should be discussed what people say regarding the elections.)

I think that the response of some teachers is caused by what SMER did during the strike. Many teachers decided to join the strike after what the prime minister, minister or some capitalists said in the media (bullshit that really made people angry because it was a direct attack at their dignity). At the same time - in my opinion - it created a sort of "revenge" attitude. Something like the fenomenon of "protest voting"...

As for judging the strike based on fulfillment of the demands. Well, I used to take this position some time ago as well, but I am sceptical if this is the way to go. Such perspective becomes fruitless when you try to analyse things. OK, they have not reached the demands yet. So, are we to say that they lost? How does this dichotomy help us to see many parts of the mosaic that this movement consists of in terms of organizing and actions. I gues you could say "they lost, but...". Well, then it should be clear which part of the sentence you put the emphasis on;)

MT
Feb 21 2016 14:54

Here is a selective list of some of the actions that will take place next week. I hope that libcomers in regions will write reports;) There are actions planned already for the week after next week. A lot of this actions are prepared by teachers at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava whose active involvement is one of the factors of continuation of the strike this week.

Monday
Why a strike? – debate at one of the faculties in Bratislava where teachers have joined the strike only recently.
Why it matters to us? – open debate at a university in Banská Bystrica. There will be also a debate with teachers, parents and pupils in the evening about the future of education system.
Example of non-traditional teaching – two hour presentation in Košice.
Ritualization of politics using the photos from the fascist Slovak republic – evening event in Bratislava.

Tuesday
Workshop on making banners and debate on art in practice and about the art of not being silent (Košice).
Presentation called „Artist – Rebel – Citizen“ with examples of civic resistance and rebellion in arts and film (Bratislava).

Wednesday
There will be marches to „sleeping faculties“ in Košice and Bratislava. They will use drums to make a lot of noise. The actions should be supported by teachers from different schools and universities, students and parents. In Košice it will be followed by a demonstration.
Reading marathon (in Bratislava) – each participant will have 5 minutes to read from his or her favourite book. At the same time there will be a meeting on creating slogans.

Thursday
Workshop on creating didactical tools for schools that joined the strike (Košice).

Friday
Debate on activism in art (Bratislava).

majo
Feb 21 2016 20:07
MT wrote:
As for judging the strike based on fulfillment of the demands. Well, I used to take this position some time ago as well, but I am sceptical if this is the way to go. Such perspective becomes fruitless when you try to analyse things. OK, they have not reached the demands yet. So, are we to say that they lost? How does this dichotomy help us to see many parts of the mosaic that this movement consists of in terms of organizing and actions. I gues you could say "they lost, but...". Well, then it should be clear which part of the sentence you put the emphasis on;)

I agree on this basically. What I meant to write was that I was regarding the collective experience and inspiration for other sectors as an outcome of current struggle. Making a point on the educational system and opening public debate is a good result, but I guess that it is also an important lesson to experience that if you stand-up for your demands as workers, you can actually enforce them.
But it is an abstract contemplating and commenting for me at the moment. :/ I don't have that precise picture of the atmosphere on the ground.

MT
Feb 22 2016 21:22

I managed to go to "Why a strike" debate at Faculty of Informatics and Information Technologies (FIIT) today. Actually, it was about Why THE Strike:) It was in a relatively new building of the faculty, a completely different planet to what most of the students in Bratislava experience during their studies. The debate was scheduled pretty smart because it was chosen after a lecture where it was sure that a lot of students would go to. The room has a capacity of 400 seats and almost noone left after the lecture. My guess is 300 students stayed for the ISU/IVU debate.

It is hard to compare it with the debate at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics last week but both were good. Here the students were perhaps more active and gave more provocative questions. One of the teachers at FIIT joked that despite they are in the field of information technologies, they were pretty slow to join the strike:) Several specifics of FIIT graduates and IT workers in general were mentioned. For example that they don't have to worry about their jobs, which perhaps makes them more letargic and unresponsive to problems of other people. But the FIIT teachers are happy to join the strike after all because they feel that it is something that is almost their duty.

The students asked about common misconceptions like long vacation and free time that the teachers enjoy, so it was explained how hard the job really is and that it cannot be compared jobs where you finish after 8 hours and that's it.

Another question was about the fact that only 17% of teachers in regional education joined the strike, so how can they call on students to take active role and help the strike when even teachers didn't care. A response by IVU teacher was basically about not following those who don't do anything but what you feel should be done (this "do the right thing" response was seconded by a representative of a students initiative who was one of the guests). Unfortunately, the teacher mentioned also voting, which he seems to consider as part of being active in society. I am curious about such statements as we are closer to the elections date (5th March).

Another response to "only" 17% was intimidation and situation of women in this feminized sector, especially those who have kids and no partner. I wish they mentioned also the role of the OZPŠaV union.

After the debate a dean came to the meeting and explained that she supports the strike (she was not so openly supportive last week (although not openly against either)).

Since yesterday the list of activities for this week grew and one even has to choose between where to go as times collide:) There is also a new activity that in whole Slovakia every day between 12.05 and 12.15 all the lectures would stop and people gather in some open spaces and can take a picture of their gathering and share. A symbolic thing, of course, but these things can play a motivating and mobilizing role.

There is also one great thing which comes with organizing across faculties. Not only the teachers meet and talk to their colleagues from the same and/or other faculties for the first time, but they can go further and thanks to this can talk about own problems and organize to fight for changes. For example there are faculties with bad working conditions (shitty contracts and/or totalitarian bosses). I think these "side effects" will be part of the crucial factors in evaluating the strike even if the 3 demands of ISU are not fulfilled. Even more if they really manage to achieve improvements at particular faculties.

Bambuľka kvantová
Feb 24 2016 22:08

Today students and teachers in the major eastern town Kosice marched in support of nurses who had left their jobs in their dispute with hospital management a couple of weeks ago. These nurses now demand a collective reinstatement to their previous posts. About 200 people joined the event today (so the media said) and messages of solidarity were exchanged.
Also, students organizing strike dance parties in several venues these days, a couple of live gigs and a lively well attended drumming march in the capital city today.

MT
Feb 24 2016 22:36

One of the alternative lectures yesterday was at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava and was about "rebellions". It provided a short info on some historically known films about rebellions as well as rebellions in art. Some examples from Slovakia were mentioned as well. There was also a screening of parts from Media Cool and Zabriskie Point with historical background and making of the films. I was quite impressed by Media Cool and the scene from the real demo. Pretty powerful even today. Anyway, only some 15-20 people came, which is a pity, but I don't regret going. I wish someone from Košice could write about alternative lectures there, because they have interesting schedule, too.

Today there was the drumming march, which started at the Faculty of Pedagogics in Bratislava. I thought there would be no more than 50 people who would have a walk around the city center on the sidewalk and just beat the drums. Groups of students and teachers from different faculties were coming in front of the building of the Faculty of Pedagogics (which has a nice strike decorum btw) with their own banners and noise and in the end a mass of (my guess) 500 students and teachers was created in the process of what followed. A band formed from over a dozen students and teachers prepared a drum song and it created a wonderful atmosphere which stayed strong during the whole protest. So in the end, it was a real protest march that stopped the transport in the city center for a while. I thought that there would be stops at the faculties it passed by, but it seems the original plan changedt. Anyway, I think this type of action should have been organized long before today, because it really felt great.

In the evening, there was a concert of Rozpor (a well known DIY political punk band) which was very untraditional, as it took place in a hall of Faculty of Arts where usually classical music is performed. A bit surreal and an experience that all the people there will surely remember (the hall looks like a place for royal weddings:)). Now I think that it is a pity that people don't put photos here. Time to change that:)

So, today was really full of positive energy.

The number of teachers in strike rose to 553 from 20 universities. I've seen numbers from 2013 and there should be almost 10 000 university teachers in Slovakia.

MT
Feb 27 2016 17:12

I translated an interview with one of the IVU teachers taken from the online version of newspapers SMEfrom 24th February 2016. One does not have to agree with what is said, but in my opinion this interview represents well some aspects and motives of university teachers strike (as much as a short interview can, of course).

Government cannot treat teachers as rags, says a pedagogue

Literary scientist and historian Jozef Tancer has been working at the Comenius University for eighteen years. He sees a great contribution of the strike in uniting academia and solidarity that is untypical of Slovakia.

Jozef Tancer teaches German literature at the Department of German, Dutch and Scandinavian Studies at Comenius University. He is a chairman of the employee part of the academic senate of the Faculty of Arts and actively takes part in the strike of university pedagogues.

One can see that teacher demonstrations are different to other demonstrations. Why is it so?

“We are strike amateurs. But teachers are professionals, also thanks to the job they do, in the ability to communicate and are being used to stand in from of a group and organize it. They can use a lot of the skills that are related to their profession. For example, fine arts disciplines have practical experience with big productions. We learn as we go and make a lot of mistakes. There are actions with important content that we are not able to communicate to the outside world.”

What motivated you to take an active part in the strike?

“I have been following the activities of the Initiative of teachers and seen that new topics emerged which we have not taken into account first. A big topic is the motive of solidarity. Even if it sounds unbelievable, the university teachers reacted because of their moral outrage. Because of how the government treats the teachers and how it communicates with them.”

Do you think that you can influence the approach of the government?

“We are no pragmatists who know how to influence or pursue things. Maybe there is this thing that we have a naive feeling that a teacher should have some respect and gravity in society. They cannot be treated as rags. The way the communication was handled with striking teachers offended our honour and was the emotional reason for many to join the strike. We lack solidarity among groups of people in Slovakia. There is a total lack of solidarity of the majority with any minority, like for example doctors and nurses. National, sexual minorities, refugees… That’s why the civic sector is paralyzed; we forgot what it means that a person is a social being.”

The strike opened a topic of social status of universities

“We did not formulate our won demands purposely. Those of the Initiative of Slovak Teachers could markedly improve even the university education in a relatively short time. Universities would get more quality graduates from high schools. The second reason was that we didn’t want to break up our strength but unite people. University teachers are practically marginalized groups, too. We belong to the education sector and despite our different position, we are an enclave that lives in its own ivory tower, speaks an incomprehensible scientific language, organized conferences, but we forgot to communicate with the outside world. That’s why not only society has distorted perception about us, as we have learnt in the last weeks, but also us ourselves. “

What influence did it have on you?

“Although I am teaching my eighteenth year at the Comenius University, during the last five days I have been for the first time at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, I have met my colleagues and their students. I have been for the first time at the Faculty of Informatics and Information Technologies of the Slovak Technical University; for the first time I had the chance to be directly in contact with people with who we compete for the budget and with who we indirectly talk about criteria of quality via media and commissions, but I have never met them before. I feel like natural sciences have a very specific view on arts and vice versa, but we all are a bit wrong. As part of the strike, the interfaculty cooperation has started. A professor of genetics from the Faculty of Natural Sciences came to the Faculty of Arts and had a lecture on Comenius, which is a miracle in Slovakia. We have a lot in common.”

Will the events of last few weeks move the Slovak academia forward?

“When people meet each other, they automatically start to look for what unites them. This moment will move forward Comenius University in the least. We have thirteen faculties and is it hard to find things in common. Now, informal relationships are being formed. I don’t have a problem anymore to pick up a phone and call mathematicians and agree on common activities. Informal relationships have been formed between universities as well. At the beginning there were people from ten faculties from various universities. Gradually the strike committee grew and we have contact people all over Slovakia now. We, although in Bratislava we are not very good in this, try to travel and meet. Not only across disciplines but regions as well.”

Do you think the cooperation will last?

“We have no boss and we can function only when we respect each other. We have no power, therefore we have nothing to fight about between each other; there is no conflict of competencies. It fascinates me, because for some bodies or institutions this could be a communication problem. The Initiative of Slovak Teachers and the Initiative of University Teachers are built from below.”

Are more than five hundred university teachers a sufficient number?

“No, it’s too little and I am disappointed. But I don’t think this is about numbers. It is about the attitude of individuals. Five hundred active university teachers who are on strike but at the same time teach, may have wider impact than 15 thousand striking teachers that do not teach. Within a week I could talk to one hundred students about what is going on and explain the context of the education. I do my job, I speak about what is going on and at the same time I do not take any wage.”

Despite that, it is hard to find students at demonstrations who would be able to formulate their own opinion and explain why they protest.

“It is not enough to explain it once. Many faculties are preparing for activities after the elections that will not have a strike character but will continue in the edification. I don’t want to be hard on students, but they are like children that need several years to learn to speak up. They need to train and that requires patience. Students are not different to our society – most of them are passive. You can’t start to express your opinion from one day to another and we can’t build civic society in a year. Maybe we have wrong expectations. Why the students should know something the grown-ups don’t know? Students were there when big social changes took place and maybe we heroified them.”

Is it possible to fix it?

“It is important to create a common memory of several generations that work at universities. The generation around their sixties experienced during their studies the year 1968 and in their active years the year 1989. The second generation of people, who are now in their forties, experienced the year 1989 during their grammar school and university studies, and now are assistants and docents. The students are the generation of after-1989. The strike is an opportunity for us to bring the historical experience of reforming the society over to three generations. I believe that this is emotionally most effective when done between the oldest generation and the students. There is a magical bond of mutual generosity and enthusiasm between grandparents and grandchildren. On the other hand, there are strong conflicts between the generation of parents and their children. It is important that many older university teachers who joined the strike speak with their students about their experiences with the year 1989, when much more was in stake than now. 25 years have passed, which is one generation, and to form a new vision of society we need a historical memory.”

vasil2
Feb 29 2016 23:54

Some points on demonstration in Košice 24th feb. 2016
- students and teachers (both university and elementary schools) organised about 100 people march in Košice with drums and loud party music
- elementary school teachers joined them on their way
- the march joined the demonstration of nurses in front of ex-minister`s of health house in Košice
- they moved to smaller square in Košice where after 20 minutes nurses joined the demonstration. This was very strong solidarity moment for all the crowd.
- there were some parents with children in the crowd supporting demonstration
- all in all about 350 people joined the demonstration

- afterparty in nearby punk bar (teachers and students together - strong unity feeling, maybe important for the future)

akai
Mar 1 2016 06:34

Great stuff.

MT
Mar 1 2016 21:19

There was a lot of debates at universities during last week and also this week. Banská Bystrica was very active in the aspect.

With elections around the corner (Saturday) some uni teachers speak about how important it is to vote. I wouldn't say that it is them using the strike for this propaganda, rather it is something that meany of them would do despite the strike. I remember how it annoyed me in the past when some of my uni teachers mentioned the mantra of voting before elections.

I think that the dynamics of the ISU and IVU strike are very different (I would say because of how different both initiatives were created with IVU having no continuity, not mentioning the fact that ISU's continuity is based on the objective necessity to form something outside the union structures in 2012).

There are some ideas that the next months should be about preparations for a more massive strike in autumn probably together with the OZPŠaV, but not dependent on them.

As for current activities today there was a "Funeral of the Education" march through the city center with a big coffin and a funeral band. It represented a lost fight for the education and a hope that something new will be created. Some 500 people took part, which was more than I expected.

Interesting things are going on in the East, so I hope vasil will report.

Bambuľka kvantová
Mar 1 2016 23:11

What is the future strategy, for how long can the university teachers carry on like this?
What about that mysterious train full of strikers expedited from Bratislava to Kosice? Vasil, come on...!
I liked the idea of pictures of students expressing gratitude to their high school teachers, a good way how to help deepen the links between universities and other schools! And also the idea that this week university lecturers are going to teach primary and high school kids is great, for the same reason! smile Perhaps small and not radical gestures (for libcom standards), but they probably reflect TODAY's needs of the movement in Slovakia quite well... (correct me if I am wrong).

MT
Mar 2 2016 09:01

For the readers who don't follow Slovak media, here are photos from the Funeral:
https://dennikn.sk/387236/ucitelia-prisli-ciernom-pochovavali-skolstvo-f...

MT
Mar 2 2016 09:13

I just would like to add to what Bambuľka said that the uni teachers are giving lectures directly at high schools, not unis (oppossed to one of the Fridays), which is I think a very good idea (however, at some schools headmasters allowed it only if the subject was related to the teaching plan of the high school teachers).

Btw., the number of uni workers on strike is currently 573 from 20 universities. Vast majority of them are teachers, but you could find also some exceptions (very small though) of non-pedagogic staff taking part.

MT
Mar 7 2016 18:47

The strike shifted to strike emergency from today. Altogether the strike lasted 6 weeks. There are no direct effect in terms of fullfilment of the demands.

There are plans to continue the networking and prepare for another strike.

A lot will depend on how the new government will look like, which is not clear yet, but if there is any new government at all, it will be a right-wing one. I would say that a possible strike in this situation will be much harder thing to organize unless the OZPŠaV union steps in. So, the future doesn't look nice at all and teachers will have to do a lot of work to organize the next strike and to succeed.

jura
Mar 8 2016 10:53

I think if there's a right-wing government, there's a good chance that unions (all of them) will be more active (as always). But that's not necessarily a good thing. An important outcome of all of this was a lot of self-organization, which the teacher's union will try to downplay or drown if it does step in. An important advantage for the ISU could be that they were able to provoke solidarity (if small-scale) from the universities, which the official union never even tried AFAIK. Another good thing is that the demands haven't changed and the ISU is determined (at least in its declarations) to continue the fight regardless of the government. The sheer perseverance could be an important psychological factor.

I'm more optimistic about the near future. If there's a right-wing government, I think there will generally be more public support for struggles around living standards (everywhere). Sure, some of the teachers (perhaps especially in Bratislava) who supported the strike may lose interest, but on the other hand the political shift could draw in teachers who hesitated to strike for political reasons.

Of course, if the new government is smart about it and starts making some minor but real concessions, the movement may just dissipate.

Bambuľka kvantová
Mar 10 2016 12:13

I am not sure about Bratislava but the regions may get tougher. The statutory primary schools are being established and run under the local governments, the statutory secondary schools under the regional administration. If the heavy-handed far-right People's Party succeeds in the regional elections next year, which is likely, then who would dare to go on strike without the trade union protection then? The local elections in 2018 could mean the same additional risk for teachers in nurseries and primary schools.
The participation on strike in regional schools was very low anyway and I am hoping ISU-IVU are going to try to prevent this same happens again.

jura
Mar 10 2016 18:02

I didn't think of that, B.

MT
Jul 2 2016 14:06

Just a short update. ISU and IVU have been active even after the strike. They organized several meetings and actions since March 2016 and used the first day of Slovak presidency of the Council of the EU to stress out their demands (video from the protest with an option of English subtitles: https://youtu.be/a91SlChaZU8).

They plan further actions in August and possibly a strike again in September.

Chilli Sauce
Jul 2 2016 17:31

Thanks for the update MT. Solidarity!

vasil2
Oct 10 2018 12:18

Update:
ISU is really far away from forming any active net of teachers. Mostly it is activity of an individuale giving TV interviews and commenting vast variety of social topics. They are participating on antigovernment oposition protests. There is nearly nothing left from the big potencial of building active teachers movement.