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Almost 90 percent of Võru teachers plan to strike

Võru kesklinna School
Võru kesklinna School Source: ERR

Nearly 90 percent of the teachers in the southern city of Võru's educational institutions plan to strike next week. However, few teachers in Narva's municipal schools plan to join the protest.

Monday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" looked at how schools in Narva and Võru are preparing for the open-ended strike which starts January 22.

In Võru, almost 1,000 children attend the city's three schools and almost 800 go to kindergartens, the city government said. Schools and kindergartens will remain open during the strike.

Mayor of Võru Kalvi Kõva said it has been decided to pay teachers for the first day of the strike, but not any subsequent days.

"In doing so, we are showing a little solidarity with teachers and their pay, because teachers' pay has to keep up with the times," Kõva said.

While some schools are still debating how many teachers will participate in the strike and for how long, Raili Jahtmaa, trustee of Võru Kesklinna School and geography teacher, said most of the school's teachers have already made a decision.

"Collectively, we have agreed that on January 22 most of us could strike for a week, some of us have also joined the support strike, those who cannot join the main strike. Out of around 48 teachers, 38 have said a firm "yes". The rest have then decided not to strike, or cannot strike for some reason, or are still considering it," said Jahtmaa.

Strikes will have little impact on Narva schools

Approximately 400 teachers work in Narva's municipal schools. The city government said, so far, few educators have announced they want to join the open-ended strike, but some want to join the support strike. 

"We are currently aware of only two teachers in our schools who intend to strike. Our trade unions are not members of the Estonian Educational Personnel Union and therefore do not have this right to strike indefinitely, only the right to support strikes. In Narva, this indefinite strike is obviously not going to happen," said Larissa Degel, a manager at Narva City Government.

There are more strikers in Narva's state high schools. For example, 11 educators out of 28 at the Estonian high school wll participate for at least three days.

Educators at Narva High School, the biggest in the city with 44 teachers, have considered joining, but as of Monday, only one teacher is certain to strike.

"With a strike of one to five, even less than 10 teachers, I believe the school could cope with the number of teachers we have, perhaps we would find substitutes for the classes in the form of other teachers. Of course, if there were to be more strikes, then there could already be problems because other teachers are also working full-time. So the whole planning of the teaching logistics could become difficult. Today, we are calm and we believe we can manage," said Teivi Gabriel director of Narva High School.

The number of striking teachers will become clearer this week. Educators will not be paid while they participate.

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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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