Universities joining general strike in the education system

Ljubljana – Universities decided on Wednesday to join the general strike in the education system scheduled for 9 March after a list of their demands had been ignored by the Education Ministry for over a month.

Much like school and kindergarten teacher, professors at universities are unhappy with the public sector pay system after the government decided to offer doctors a higher top pay bracket.

They also want better working conditions and an overhaul of rules on working from home, being on stand by, and extra days off for working in dangerous conditions like in healthcare.

The Higher Education Trade Union sent a list of its demands to the ministry over a month ago but received no reply. Since the 30-day deadline for responding to such initiatives expired, the only response is strike, the trade union believes.

It pointed a finger at Education Minister Simona Kustec and State Secretary Mitja Slavinec, saying they were again ignoring the needs of higher education.

“The only appropriate response to your ignoring of legitimate proposals by our trade union, to your harming of public higher education and to corruptive provincialism is a strike in higher education,” the trade unions said in an open letter released yesterday.

The strike will be conducted in line with the law. The pedagogical and research processes will be suspended and libraries closed.

Only exams scheduled beforehand and presentations of theses, and clinical practice crucial for patients’ health will still be conducted along with meetings and sessions dedicated to strike demands and the situation in higher education, the trade union said.

Primary and secondary school teachers and kindergarten staff announced a general strike for 9 March on 18 February. They demand higher pay for teaching and non-teaching staff alike plus bonuses for extra work connected with the Covid-19 pandemic.