STA, March 14, 2018 – Classes have been cancelled in more than 90% of Slovenia's public primary and secondary schools and kindergartens for today, as around 40,000 teachers are expected to go on strike for higher wages for the second time this year.
This will be the latest in a wave of strikes in the public sector amid efforts to fix pay disparities that stem from past changes to the public sector pay system and were exacerbated by austerity measures.
After the first strike on 14 February, the teachers' trade union SVIZ and the government came close to averting a follow-up strike in talks on Monday, but the deal reportedly fell through because it triggered additional demands from other trade unions in the public sector.
SVIZ, threatening with a third strike in April, announced it would insist on what had been agreed but not initialled on Monday.
The union is demanding a two-bracket pay increase for all teachers and the placing of form teachers one pay bracket higher for the period when they head a class.
It also wants a 200 euro increase in holiday allowance for those on the minimum or lowest wages to 1,050 euro gross.
Unlike in February, when a central rally was held in Ljubljana, separate rallies have been announced this time for noon in 11 cities.
At the rallies, the union will highlight that teachers continue to be disadvantaged in pay trends in the public sector and that their wages have also grown more slowly than in the country in general - in the last year the average wage growth in Slovenia was 2.65%, while wages in education increased by 1.69%.
Despite the strike, day care will be organised for children whose parents have been unable to find minders or some other activity for them to take part in.