Saturday, October 3, 2009

Elementary School Teachers’ strike on hold for now

By Li Novak
Belgrade, Sept. 24, 2009 (Serbia Today) - The Forum of Belgrade Primary Schools is the only representative primary school’s Union on the city level, which means that this Union has the biggest number of members. Under its organization, 16 schools have decided to hold a strike of warning on Friday September 18, 2009. The other schools from the same Union have decided to support the strike, but not to join. The reason for lack of bigger support is in fear from the pressures and the possible sanctions, the representatives from the Forum told Serbia Today.
President of The Forum of Belgrade Primary Schools Mrs. Radmila Dodic told Serbia Today that there were strong reasons for the strike: it is impossible to get from the Ministry of education any straight information about upcoming process called “rationalization”, about leaving payments and excess of working force. Also, there were no real consultations with unions, because the government keeps its measures in the dark.
Mrs. Dodic told us that The Forum of Belgrade Primary Schools made a decision to freeze the strike, for now. The decision about other form of struggle will be made in the ending of October. In the press release it was said: ”The Minister of education has spoken to us not personally, but by the media and declared that document about rationalization will be shown first to the Government and second to the education Unions. Because of that, we decided to give him the chance to fulfill the promise, and we froze the strike. After publishing of that document, the members of our union will meet again to analyze the government’s offer and to make decision about future moves.
The Forum of Belgrade Primary Schools got the support from The Forum of High Schools Experts. Radmila Dodic told us that the biggest number of media has totally ignored the strike. “Not important news or censorship?” – she asks.
The main goal of the planned strike was intention of the teachers to be better informed about upcoming school reform and about their own personal and professional near future. But the Minister of education Zarko Obradovic and the Government ignored this demand and didn’t organize any meeting with The Forum on the subject.
The Forum of Belgrade Primary Schools continues their campaign, by organizing the conversations and addressing the authorities.
Mrs. Dodic emphasized the fact that scandalized education public: on Friday, the strike has been frozen, and on Monday, in Belgrade schools, rationalization secretly began.
This union also sent the letter to the People’s office of the President of Republic Serbia, Boris Tadic. In it, they address to the president as the former teacher, and underline their astonishment by the Ministry of education’s actions, which disturbs the regular school year.

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