EI sent a message of solidarity to its Bulgarian affiliates, as they launched a general strike today to urge the government to increase the education budget and improve teacher salaries.
The Bulgarian parliament will be voting on the education budget today. Teachers who participate in the strike are members of EI affiliates the Syndicat des Enseignants Bulgares (SEB) and the Syndicat des Enseignants Podkrepa (PODKREPA). Bulgarian teachers started a hunger strike on 25 November. EI launched an Urgent Action Appeal for the teachers on 30 November, which prompted affiliates and partners around the world to show their solidarity. The European Region of EI also issued a resolution during its meeting in Luxemburg from 6-7 December, declaring its support for the teachers. At the press conference held at noon today, Bulgarian teacher unions reiterated their demand for a pay rise of at least 15 percent next year, and an allocation of at least 5 percent of the country's gross domestic product for education. Today's general strike was observed in 1860 schools across the country, including 60% of education institutions and 16% of kindergartens. In its message, EI expresses its solidarity with Bulgarian colleagues on the behalf of 30 million education workers across the globe as "they engage in the struggle for dignity and the possibility to live normally in the exercise of their profession".