Education International has written to its Greek affiliates the Greek Primary Teachers Federation (DOE) and Federation of Secondary Teachers of Greece (OLME) in support of their demands for adequate funding for quality education.
Primary and pre-school teachers represented by the DOE have been on strike since 18 September, calling for pay increases and an increase in staff numbers.
On Monday, the they were joined by secondary teachers represented by the OLME.
Riot police dispersed the demonstrators as they attempted to march to Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis’s residence. No injuries were reported and no arrests made.
Union solidarity will be further displayed this week by civil servants and bank workers who will take to the streets on Thursday 5th October – World Teachers’ Day.
Greek teachers are among the lowest paid in Europe with the yearly starting salary set at 12,555 euros, compared with 48,000 in Luxembourg, 19,401 in Britain, 17,463 in France, 17,528 in Italy and 37,350 euros in Germany.
The content of EI’s letter is available below, in English:
MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE TEACHERS OF GREECE
Dear Presidents Dimitris Bratis and Dimitris Georgas:
Education International’s 30 million member teachers and education workers worldwide stand in full solidarity with their Greek colleagues in their legitimate struggle for public education and increased funding for quality education and improvement of the status of teachers.
On World Teachers’ Day 2006, Education International celebrates teachers, defends their rights and upholds standards. We wish we were here with you today as you demonstrate exactly what this day is all about. EI’s message of solidarity is to each and every one of you.
This year is also significant because it is the anniversary of the Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, a landmark document ratified on 5 October, 40 years ago, by the International Labour Organization and UNESCO. This ILO/UNESCO Recommendation is seen as a charter of rights and responsibilities for educators around the world.
We applaud your goals and your efforts to support public education and democratic schools. We stand with you in support of adequate funding for quality education – without proper funding education cannot be universal, free, accessible to all children and of a quality that attracts teachers and students and keeps them in schools. A quality education opens doors and enables individuals to make choices throughout their lives. It is essential for ensuring an educated citizenship, is one that is most able to participate in democratic decision-making and societal well-being – one able to safeguard our democratic way of life.
Teachers play a critical role in providing quality education. Without quality teachers, there can be no quality education for our children. Governments are obliged to recognize the economic and professional needs of teachers - adequate remuneration in recognition of our professional status and the job we do – there is no work that is more important than educating our young ones.
We congratulate you for standing up for your rights, for your members and for public education.
Best wishes and Good Luck.
Fred van Leeuwen