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Teachers plan strike alert if govt rejects pay demands

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Prague, Sept 1 (CTK) – The Czech school workers’ union will declare strike alert if the government coalition council fails to meet its demand for a pay rise on Monday, its chairman Frantisek Dobsik said at a protest meeting of teachers in Prague on Friday.

The Czech Rectors’ Conference (CKR), for its part, will hold an extraordinary meeting on September 6 to ponder what steps to take for teachers’ demands to be listened to.

The rectors are considering measures such as delaying the start of the academic year, CKR head Tomas Zima said.

Dobsik said he is empowered to declare strike alert if teachers’ demands failed to be met.

He said he believes that the step will finally be unnecessary.

First, the union wants to wait for the CKR’s meeting in order to coordinate further steps with universities.

The union demands a 15-percent rise in the pay of teachers at schools operated by regions, and a 10-percent rise in the pay of non-teaching professions as of November 2017.

Otherwise, it says, the government’s promise to raise teachers’ pay to 130 percent of the country’s average pay cannot come true.

The universities want their teachers’ pay to be increased by 15 percent.

The union and the universities together demand a total budget increase of 17.5 billion crowns next year.

The Education Ministry supports their demands.

Finance Minister Ivan Pilny (ANO) said the demands exceed what he has earmarked in the 2018 state budget for the pay rise in the whole civil service sector.

He admitted that the draft budget deficit, preliminarily projected at 50 billion crowns, may be increased if the government coalition parties’ leaders agree to do so at their meeting in Lednice, south Moravia, on Monday.

A total of about 151 teachers work at elementary and secondary schools operated by self-rule regions.

About 500 people, mainly teachers, attended the protest meeting in Prague’s Bethlehem Chapel on Friday.

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