The Catalan teachers have confirmed the five days of strike with which they threatened weeks ago when they did not find a response from the Minister of Education to their demands. The progress of the school start, added to a whole series of grievances listed by the unions –from the reversal of certain cuts to the new curriculum–, has led them to officially call a strike without precedent in recent decades: it will be on the 15th, 16th and March 17 as well as the 29 and 30 of the same month.
Catalonia cuts the summer school holidays by one week and will start the course on September 5
The unions that support the protest are practically all of those that have representation: USTEC-STEs (IAC), CCOO, Intersindical-CSC, ASPEPC-SPS, UGT, CGT and the USOC. "Let's say enough of the attitude of the Department of Education, which by entrenching itself in a position of authoritarianism and worsening working conditions, has closed the door to dialogue and negotiation," said Iolanda Segura, USTEC spokesperson.
The unions insist that the school calendar, whose start is advanced to September 5 in Primary and 7 in Secondary, is only the "drop that breaks the camel's back" of growing discontent in the sector, especially due to the lack of dialogue with Education. Among the measures included among their demands for the strike are the investment of 6% of GDP in education, the rethinking of the new curriculum, the rejection of the application of 25% of Spanish or the "stabilization" of temporary staff. Also the claim for more resources to guarantee the inclusive school model and, ultimately, the resignation of the minister, Josep González-Cambray. "We are here for everything that we have been dragging for more than ten years," Segura summed up.
As for the calendar, during a meeting of the School Council of Catalonia held two weeks ago, the teachers' and family associations did not oppose the measure, but they did ask the Department of Education for a year of margin to agree on it and apply it. But Cambray's response was that the measure was positive and they did not rethink it.
"Attending directly to students is not the same as having time to prepare classes. If we want to rationalize the calendar and favor conciliation, what we need is a consensus with the community," said Marga Romartínez, from CCOO
Teachers insist that they are not complaining because they are going to have fewer vacations – they will also start on day 1 – but rather that there will be less time to prepare the course. Or they will have to do it during the first weeks of July, which some dedicate to training. The measure will be accompanied by the application of the intensive day throughout the month of September, with school hours until 1:30 p.m. and free extracurricular offer for those who want to stay from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.