Czech teachers are going on strike


The Czech education union ČMOS PŠ have announced a warning strike of early childhood, primary, secondary and education institutions  on 27 November 2023. The union is demanding an increase in public funding  for education for 2024 and is calling on Education Minister Mikuláš Bek to negotiate with them.

The Education Ministry is expected to have 269 billion CZK (11 billion EUR) to spend in 2024, according to its proposed budget. This is 3.9 billion CZK (160 million EUR) more than this year. The regional education sector will eventually receive 1 476 839 016 CZK (60 413 000 EUR) to increase teachers' salaries. This is the maximum that Minister Bek managed to negotiate. Education Minister Mikuláš Bek said that teachers should receive an average increase of about 2,500 CZK (102 EUR) from January 2024. The teachers’ average salary should correspond to 130% of the average wage in the whole economy, as the law dictates. The calculation will be based on the 2022 amounts. However, increasing salaries from the 2022 level is problematic because the 2023 wage has risen by almost 3,000 CZK (122 EUR) in the meantime.

ETUCE fully supports its member organisation ČMOS-PŠ in its demands to make the teaching profession more attractive, in particular in addressing the shortage of teachers and stopping the brain drain of young people from the profession. The education system in Czechia desperately needs decision-makers in the country to ensure higher salaries coupled with better and more inclusive working conditions to attract and retain skilled and passionate teachers and other education personnel.

According to ČMOS-PŠ, this budget proposal is far from the promised priority proclaimed by the government coalition. Teachers will in fact only get 113% of the average wage due to rising inflation and it is questionable whether they will see any salary increase, as the money is not tied to tariffs. Teachers should receive higher salaries in bonuses. However, other school staff, such as cooks, caretakers, assistants and clerical workers, will not receive this increase either. Their jobs are not adequately secured, which unionists say will lead to a 2% drop in salaries for these positions, which are already underpaid.

Susan Flocken, ETUCE European Director, stated “We support ČMOS PŠ in raising awareness among government, inter-governmental agencies and society that quality public education provision for all is one of the fundamental pillars of a just and equitable society. Adequate public funding is essential for education and training systems to perform and provide quality education for the future generation”. She added “For the teaching profession to become an attractive profession for highly qualified teaching professionals, decent salaries need to be ensured for all teachers and researchers .

ČMOS-PŠ President Dobšík, calls on the Czech government that the Education Ministry should receive enough funding to fulfil all its promises. Any cuts in the budget of the education sector, will jeopardise the quality of education. Teacher numbers will have to be reduced due to the lack of funding, and in many cities, schools will have to stop teaching in pairs or splitting lessons in selected subjects. "Education spending is not a debt, as some politicians say, but an investment in our future", Dobšík added.