The concerted centers of Euskadi – Kristau Eskola and Aice-Izea – are plunged into a week of strike. Yesterday took place the first day of the five consecutive planned shutdowns, with a follow-up of 15.5% in Gipuzkoa and 21.5% in Euskadi, according to Kristau Eskola, although the unions increased this percentage to 70%. In any case, in Gipuzkoa, the strike, which calls for 9,000 workers, was noted early in the morning in several centers, such as La Salle in Irun. “We see that fewer children are coming to school,” commented Andrés Rodríguez before leaving his two daughters in the center of the border town.
The situation that each school is experiencing these days depends on the follow-up to the strike of its workers. There are centers in which normality was practically absolute yesterday and others which, depending on the school level – nursery, primary or secondary – were more affected. However, many parents decided to take their children to school due to the inability to reconcile. In Euskadi there are more than 200 social initiative educational centers that teach more than 130,000 students.
Among them Donostia Jesuitak, where Iovana Merino estimated that “there are minimal services, also a jangela and a dining room, which is why I brought one of my children, 3 years old, to school. The other, aged 8, stayed home because she was sick. “The strike is a right that the worker can exercise and there is nothing to say,” she admits, even if she feels “privileged” because she can live with her husband. “We can manage.” Nearby, Gorka Areitio said that her daughter “goes to the 4-year-old class and that at that age,” at Donostia Jesuitak, “is not affected by the strike. “I brought it as always.”
However, shortly after Iovana and Gorka left their little ones in class, the older students left due to a lack of teachers. They could not continue the day “normally” and there were even those who only had school for the first two hours of the day. Due to a lack of teachers, they had to cancel the rest of the classes, at least in this center in San Sebastián. The day went the same way in the rest of the schools. According to the union centers, the first day of strike was supported by 70% of the sector’s workforce. Kristau Eskola, however, assured that the follow-up was 21.51%, and in the distribution by territory it was estimated at 15.51% in Gipuzkoa, 26.41% in Biscay and 18.25% in Araba. In total, he assured that in 30.21% of Basque centers the strike “had no impact”. Employers and unions accuse each other of obstructing dialogue.
ELA, Steilas, CC OO, LAB and UGT estimate that 5,000 workers joined the various mobilizations during this first day of strike throughout the Basque Country. The unions were satisfied with workers’ support for the mobilization despite – they denounced – minimal services which they described as “excessive”. “The response was higher than in October,” they said.
In Donostia, a protest marched through the streets of the city center from 11:30 a.m. after starting in front of the Aldapeta Maria Ikastetxea school.
These five days of strike are in addition to the previous four days this year. The first strike took place in April and the next three in October. The last meeting between employer and union representatives took place on November 27 without any progress. It was the second meeting of this year 2023, because since February the talks had been paralyzed.
Additionally, the unions held a meeting with the Ministry of Education on December 5 with the aim of having it mediate in the conflict. According to the centers, during the two-hour meeting, Basque Government officials maintained that “the competence to negotiate the agreement belongs to the unions and employers’ associations of the sector.” They regretted that “long-term analyzes and forecasts” had been proposed, without a “concrete proposal” having been formulated.
The union centers have already warned that if there was no significant movement at the start of the year, the five days of strike this week would not be the only ones of the current course because they would intensify the mobilizations. They recall that the realization of the previous agreement for social initiative educational centers was obtained in November 2019 after a long and eventful period of strikes and mobilizations.
The main demands concern “measures aimed at lightening the workload, improvements for the most feminized and precarious sectors, salary increases that guarantee the CPI, measures to maintain employment and the content of training professional”. Plans for Basque, equality, occupational health and psychosocial risks are other demands.
Bildarratz calls for dialogue
For his part, the Basque Minister of Education, Jokin Bildarratz, wondered “what effect a strike after a long vacation will have on students.” Yesterday, Bildarratz asked unions and employers to take advantage of the Christmas period to bring positions closer together so that this type of situation does not happen again. “The only form of solution is dialogue. We have a very limited capacity for action but we do not refuse a meeting to anyone. But they are the ones who must reach an agreement,” he said in an interview with Euskadi Irratia. Thus, he asked the parties to remember that “the student is the center of the system.”
LAB calls for a strike in school canteens on January 23 and 30
The LAB union will call for a strike on January 23 and 30 in school canteens if the Ministry of Education does not allow negotiations to modify the current model, which it describes as “exhausted”. LAB announced yesterday that it would begin “a phase of struggle” for the Ministry of Education to modify the current canteen model and, “if negotiation is not possible”, workers “will go on strike on 23 and January 30,” he said. warned. LAB said a few days ago that the current dining room model was “exhausted”, and therefore asked Education to sit down with union and social agents to “start the process of change”.