Education, Government - Poland Teachers To Strike
Poland's National Teachers' Union (ZNP) has called a nationwide strike on Monday, causing a major headache for the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) just before European Parliament elections.
PiS is running neck and neck with the opposition European Coalition in next month's contest. To boost its chances, the government is pushing a very generous package of social welfare policies, aimed at larger families and the elderly - key ruling party constituencies. This will cost 9.3 Billion Euros, which - when combined combined with PiS's other spending - could explode the budget deficit to 2.8 percent of Gross Domestic Product, way up from 0.5 percent in 2018.
Teachers are insulted that they have not benefited from PiS's spending spree. With an average monthly salary of about AU$1,700, ZNP initially sought a hike of AU$370 per month. The far-right government responded with its standard belligerence, offering a raise of less than ten percent while threatening to extend mandatory teaching hours.
The teachers rejected the government's pay proposal, saying it "leaves no possibility of coming to an agreement" and "only worsens the conflict". The union upped its hand and is now demanding 30 percent raises.