Credit: Freepik

No Agreement Between Government and Education Unions On Pay For Non-Teaching Staff

No agreement was found yesterday between education trade unions and the government over money for non-teaching staff, union leader Frantisek Dobsik told reporters after the meeting.

The government, represented in the meetings by PM Petr Fiala (ODS), Education Minister Mikulas Bek (STAN) and Finance Minister Zbynek Stanjura (ODS), wants to debate the budget increase for regional schools in the middle of the year, Dobsik added.

Roughly CZK 800 million is needed to pay 2,000 non-teaching employees in regional education, as demanded by school trade unions and education associations.

Dobsik declined to comment on how the outcome of the meeting would affect the trade unions’ decision on a possible strike.

According to Bek, the government will revise the budget for regional education after 1 July, when the results of the state’s performance in the first half of the year are clear.

Bek said the government should loosen restrictions on the number of hours of non-teaching staff in schools. This proposal will be discussed at a meeting on Wednesday or next week, he added.

It is hoped that loosening these restrictions will allow school principals to decide how to manage the money they receive. If they do not reduce the number of employees, as prescribed by the ministry, they will not exceed their budgets, and would be able to use other money available to the school to pay for part-time non-teaching staff, Dobsik explained. However, he warned that principals would not have enough money to do that.

In the regional education budget plan presented by the ministry last week, there are 7,500 unfunded non-teaching posts, of which 2,500 are filled. About 500 of those can be funded from the regional reserves, Bek said.

School principals complained that the ministry was cutting non-teaching positions across the board in the budget draft. The principals were unhappy after receiving the proposed budget, Dobsik said.

According to the Ministry of Education, the 2024 regional education budget amounts to CZK 187.87 billion, which is CZK 4.97 billion higher than last year.

The unions staged a token strike at the end of last November over the impact of the government consolidation package.

According to the unions, 7,213 kindergartens, primary and secondary schools were actively involved, i.e. three-quarters of the total number of all regional schools. Some did not open at all, while others cancelled classes or ran alternative programs, and some did not open school cafeterias. Some schools supported the strikers’ demands only symbolically.

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