Portugal: Teachers’ strike forces closure of ‘dozens of schools’

The Independent Teachers’ Union estimates that almost half of all teachers have joined the national strike this Monday morning, causing the closure of “dozens of schools” and leaving thousands of pupils without classes.

“We are currently picketing, phoning all the schools and the feedback we have is that it is around 50%, with more incidence in some areas and less in others, it varies a lot depending on the area of the country,” Júlia Azevedo, president of the Independent Teachers and Educators Union (SIPE) told Lusa.

According to data gathered by the union, the areas where the strike is having the most impact are Lisbon, Sintra, Porto, Baião, Barcelos, Viana do Castelo, Póvoa de Varzim, Trofa, where this morning there were “dozens of schools closed”.

“We hope that the Ministry of Education realises that it is necessary to resume negotiations, which is our main demand. The absence of answers to the teachers’ demands and of an opening to dialogue by the ministry has been going on for two years now”, criticised Júlia Azevedo.

The strike was decided on 17 September with the aim of putting pressure on the Ministry to resume negotiations regarding the evaluation and progression in the teaching career, retirement, recruitment competitions, overtaking in the career between teachers with the same length of service, and a revision of the teaching component.

For SIPE, the Ministry of Education is preventing negotiations that could solve problems such as the ageing of the teaching profession, the overload of working hours and work, in addition to the insecurity and overstepping of the teaching career.