The week of strikes in Education is here. The next seven days will be key to see how far the commitment of teachers to the protests goes. After months of complaints, mainly on the networks, about the conditions of going back to school in practically all of Spain – there are always exceptions – teachers will have the opportunity to demonstrate their discontent with real action. Although there have already been some calls – in Madrid there is an active one, from last October 10 to 30, for example -, they do not seem to have had much effect, according to the association of directors of the Adimad institute. That of this Tuesday in Euskadi was the first summoned by the majority unions, to whom it mattered little that the Minister of Education was new. It has had a following of 70%, according to the unions, (The Basque Government lowers it to one in two, 45%).
Euskadi takes to the streets to demand from the Basque Government a “face-to-face and safe” public education
Other communities are preparing for theirs. Different unions have called strikes in Andalusia (September 18), Aragon (September 18), the Balearic Islands (it was last Monday, but it was postponed), Galicia (September 16), Madrid (there is one currently underway, that of the Majority unions are September 22 and 23) and Murcia (September 23) over the next seven days. In total, just over 250,000 teachers, one in three in public schools, are called to strike. In addition, the Student Union has also called a strike throughout Spain from tomorrow, the 16th, until Friday the 18th, to 8.2 million non-university students.
But not everything is yet to come. In Madrid a strike has been called since last October 10 by the CNT union, although it does not seem to be having much impact. Galicia also had a day of strikes on the 10th, but the minimum services imposed (of up to 80% in some cases) diluted the success of the claim. A similar situation may occur in Madrid on the 22nd, although this second call is supported by the main educational unions in the region: but the council has provided minimum services of between 90% and 100%.
In any case, the unions warn sailors: that no strikes have been called in some regions does not mean anything more than that, which to date has not been done. The appeals can change in any sense because of that “reality is dynamic”, as defined by Francisco García, general secretary of the CCOO Federation of Education. Thus, adds Mari Luz González, head of union action at STES, her union is considering whether to add the Canary Islands to the strikes, the UGT mentions the Canary Islands and Catalonia as communities in the spotlight and the CCOO talks about Navarra while going to ask its members if they maintain that of Madrid, taking into account that the regional government has begun to hire additional teaching staff. From the UGT, its head of Education, Maribel Loranca, explains in this regard that “never a call for a strike did so much without being held: the Community is making calls for teachers to the point that the lists of some specialties have been exhausted.”
Regardless of the organizing organization – not all unions support all strikes – the reasons given are usually very similar and are summarized in the fact that teachers demand more safety when returning to school. In other words: more media, more teachers, lower student-classroom ratios to maintain the maximum safety distance possible.
“There has been a great lack of foresight of the educational administrations, both the state and the regional ones,” González shared blame. “In Castilla y León, for example, they were hiring teachers on the 13th, when classes started on the 14th. And then teachers would arrive at the centers to find that they had no place to teach. There has been no coordination between administrations, and the city councils of almost all the localities have spaces that are not being used, because in addition the municipal activities are not being celebrated, “he explains.
García argues that “there is a common thread: a secure presence. But at the moment only presence is met in most communities, not security. Security goes through ratios that, although for us the ideal would be 15, we demand that at least the 20 agreed by the Ministry of Education and the autonomous communities are met “. And it puts figures on the deficiencies that CCOO detects in the system: 70,000 new teachers to create more than 30,000 extra units (classes) with which to reduce the ratios. The 30,000 teachers hired from all the communities do not reach half of those needed, according to these accounts.
The situation promises to lengthen during the course if there are no major changes in educational policies. First, these stoppages. But soon, Loranca explains, other issues will have to be raised, perhaps less urgent, but also important, which underlie the immediacy of action required, in her opinion, by the lack of teachers or groups with excessive ratios. “The big arguments should not make us forget issues that are not being addressed, such as that we are starting a course with blended presence in many communities. What about the digital plan that the Government announced? About the tablets and computer material that were to provide, especially for the most vulnerable families? With the training of teachers in technological resources? In 15 days it is still worth investigating these issues “, he warns.
An example in this regard: in Murcia, where there are towns that have returned to phase 1 and They have taken up distance classes directly, these deficiencies are already noticeable. The teachers complain, and the local administration confirms, that the centers – they do have to go to the schools – do not have the necessary material to teach the classes.
The unions also explain that not everything is strikes in this life. There are also other types of protests, explains Loranca, such as mobilizations or campaigns in networks. “There are reasons”, she assures. The problem is that, as has been seen in recent demonstrations both in Madrid and in Seville or in various Galician towns, maintaining a safe distance and the reluctance of some to attend mass events greatly detracts from demonstrations that do not have other measures behind.
The teachers who defend the strike, who are usually the ones who are most signified in public, are debating these days on the networks and trying to convince that teacher who considers that there are probably reasons to go on strike, but doubts the timing or not believe in a sustained stoppage over time. “People have to become aware that this is not just for us, this affects us all,” says Pedro, a secondary school teacher.
“Everybody protests a lot, but then they don’t want to fight for what they want,” another teacher complains. The (little) success that the first calls seem to be having (not including that of Euskadi) causes a certain resignation of those in favor of the strikes. “It is evident [con estas cifras bajas de seguimiento] something that we do not like, but it is no less true. As simple as that, “this teacher concludes.” But how are we going to go on strike for a month! “, Rejects Carolina, a music teacher.
The expectation before the follow-up grows. Whether they succeed or fail, a hot week is coming, which will measure the desire to vindicate the teachers, their endurance and their strength as a group.