Teachers and Ministry of Education no deal in sight | Education

As expected, the Ministry of Education and teachers’ unions ended the sixth negotiation round, since September, without reaching an agreement, confirmed the leader of the National Federation of Teachers (Fenprof), Mário Nogueira. Speaking to journalists at the end of the meeting, Nogueira indicated that the unions should ask, until March 2nd, for an additional negotiation period.

On the table is the proposal for a new model of recruitment and management of teachers presented by the ME, which again refused to address, for the time being, other topics, which for teachers are the most important, such as recovering frozen service or the end of the need for vacancies to access the 5th and 7th levels of the teaching career.

Education Minister João Costa said last week that the Government is available to address these issues, but only after negotiations around the new recruitment model have come to an end. This Thursday’s round was the last called at the ministry’s initiative.

“We were curious to hear the minister, but there was no proposal”, commented Mário Nogueira, adding that, at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Education said that, last week, “he limited himself to commenting on the declarations of the President of the Republic” on ongoing negotiations and the recovery of length of service.

“There are no concrete dates” to negotiate the other issues, also confirmed the coordinator of the Union of All Education Professionals, André Pestana, who was the first to leave this Thursday’s meeting, which lasted for six hours. The Stop coordinator insisted that the demonstration by the public school scheduled for this Saturday, “is very important”: “We have to fill Lisbon”.

In response to journalists’ questions, the Minister of Education suggested, last Friday, that the Government will study solutions to minimize the impact of the freezing of teachers’ service time during the times of troika. João Costa said that he will look at the “teacher segment” that was “most affected” by the career freeze, admitting that there may be different measures for teachers who were caught by the freeze at different stages of their career.

As for the new recruitment model proposed by the ME, Mário Nogueira said that there had been “some advances in relation to the initial proposal” of the ME, but that even these advances constitute “a step back from the current situation”. For example, the ministry started by proposing that teachers would be considered as having no teaching component if they were allocated 15 fewer hours of teaching per week. It later retreated to a limit of minus eight hours, but currently that threshold is minus six.

The ME should send, by March 1st, a final version of the draft decree-law on the recruitment model. The deadline for unions to request supplementary negotiation ends on March 2.

Mário Nogueira denounced, on the other hand, that there are school boards applying the minimum services decreed for the Stop strikes to union meetings that are being held all over the country, at this moment. “It is shameful what is happening,” he commented.

Fenprof, the National Education Federation (FNE) and the other seven independent teachers’ unions called new strikes for March 2nd and 3rd, for which minimum services were also required.

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