France: Secondary teachers on strike


The FSU and its member organisations called for a strike on 3 February 2015. 30 % of secondary school teachers according to the survey carried out by SNES-FSU, voted in favour of a strike action. For Frédérique Rolet, Co-General Secretary of SNES-FSU, « it is necessary that the nation be fully committed to education and its personnel ».

One of the priorities for SNES-FSU is to improve teachers' working conditions and achieve higher salaries. Indeed, between 2000 and 2014 teachers' wages have decreased by 14 %, the equivalent of two months' salary, while their workload is estimated to have gone up by 8 %. Indeed, the number of students per class has been on the increase for many years. So has the number of classes per teacher, which means more meetings, more test papers to correct and therefore heavier workload for an ever-shrinking pay. This partly stems from the decision in 2010 to freeze salaries in the public sector, a situation that must be put to an end according to FSU.

For SNES-FSU, the priority is to improve the quality of public education and to raise the status of the teaching profession in secondary schools. This is the reason why SNES-FSU insists on the urgent need to increase teacher's wages to make up for the loss of buying power that teachers have undergone in the past ten to fifteen years and to enhance the attractiveness of the teaching profession. Indeed the government is struggling to recruit new teachers and even though they created more teaching posts since they came into office in 2012, many of them have remained unfilled. « This clearly underscores the lack of attractiveness that the teaching profession is suffering from. », says Odile Cordelier, National Secretary of SNES-FSU, head of the International Affairs Department.

Another key issue for SNES-FSU is to secure the proper funding of priority education areas where massive investment is needed to face the social and economic challenges in these impoverished neighbourhoods.

It is clear that more pressure should be put on the Minister of Education to prioritise teachers' and students' working/learning conditions at a time when preparations for the next school year, which starts in September, are being conducted.