After making a lot of noise that they wouldn’t stand for being transferred involuntarily or fired and would strike in protest, Greek teachers are rapidly retreating with fewer than 20 percent turning out for meetings of their union OLME to decide whether to stop work.
The regional secondary school teacher unions (ELME) are in favor of holding five-day rolling strikes and 88 of its unions have backed plans for a strike by the Federation of Secondary School Teachers (OLME) with a final decision set for Sept. 8.
But with a record unemployment rate and the government set to get rid of disciplinary problems, most teachers don’t want to be on the firing line apparently and have opted not even to take part in a vote to strike.
The Federation of Secondary School Teachers (OLME) said earlier that it would take legal action against the government’s plan to put thousands of teachers into a so-called mobility scheme where they would get reduced pay ahead of their transfer to another post or dismissal but the fire seems to have gone out of the fury.
Accusing the government of embarking on “an assault against state education,” OLME said it was lodging a legal suit in a bid to reverse the enforcement of the mobility scheme, one of the key “prior actions” the government has promised the country’s Troika of international creditors. “We do not accept the decisions of the government and the education minister to put our colleagues on standby,” the union said.
At that time, Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who has been tasked with overseeing the overhaul of Greece’s civil service, insisted that the planned reforms will go ahead. “We can’t have a situation where nothing changes so that certain people can retain their privileges,” Mitsotakis told Mega TV.
He also suggested that authorities would fight back if teachers go ahead with their planned strike action next month. “The government will not tolerate closed schools, not even for a day,” he said. OLME’s head Themis Kotsifakis suggested that the government was forcing teachers into a corner. “It is the government that will close schools with so many cutbacks,” he said.