Posted by on 22 Nov 2012. Filed under Current Affairs, Top news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Teachers Brace for Strike over Pay Demands

After failing to agree with the government and the Ministry of Finance, teachers throughout Slovakia look set to go on strike from Monday 26 November, with the length of strike to be determined by individual schools.

9,000 strong protest in September (c) The Daily.SK

The government offer of a 5% hike in wages was rejected by the trade union, which is demanding at least 10%, and so schools all over the country will go on strike from Monday indefinitely depending on the ability of the teachers to bear the financial burden of being on strike. In addition to loss of wages, they have to register as self-payers with the health insurer and pay health insurance for each day on strike.

There is still some scope for an agreement between the trade unions and the government in the following days, but so far neither side is budging. Teachers are also planning possible protests on Monday morning in Bratislava, Kosice and Banska Bystrica. Just like the previous strike in September, nobody knows how many teachers and schools will take part in the strike.

55 Comments for “Teachers Brace for Strike over Pay Demands”

  1. Losgar

    Georgina,
    You wrote: “Professionals don`t go on Strike over pay, they lobby, discuss, come to an amicable arrangement . They seek to improve their profession, standards and attitudes in schools…”

    How many professionals do you have in the UK then?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19519839
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9148818/Teachers-to-strike-in-London-over-pensions-on-March-28.html
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43588855/ns/world_news-europe/t/teachers-civil-servants-among-strike-uk/
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/teachers-threaten-strikes-if-they-lose-long-769653

    And also good luck with teaching your kids all the subjects instead of the teachers. I’m guessing that you might be able to explain everything to them no higher than up to the 3rd grade in the primary school /under the condition that you give up your full-time job/. Then you can use the Google. Good luck to them!

    My English friends pointed out this interesting education ranking table:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9705280/UK-education-ranked-sixth-best-in-developed-world.html?
    Slovakia should be No.14 /I didn’t check it though/.

    I fully support the teachers!! Their current salaries are shameful. I counted for how much money they are actually fighting – 4,50EUR/week!!!
    The 10% will increase their net income for about 36EUR/month. The stupid government wants to give them 5% – 18EUR. They fight for the other 5% – 18EUR:4 = 4,50EUR/week!!!! It’s one beer every second day :)

    • George M

      Loghead, Yea, I was reading where the UK come in the list of `Best Ed`s` . We come 6th, 20th, 17th, 24th in the world, depending on what scale and questions you ask . QED. Not ever very impressed with stats or league lists, as it all depends what agenda you are trying to fill .

      I have already stated that I DO NOT consider Teaching a profession, so other than to prove my point ( thank you ) quite why you provide so many links to striking UK teachers is beyond me . Perhaps your English friend was poking you at the time and you have your mind on the points he was making ?

      BTW. If it is such a small amount ( 4.5 euro pw) they are demanding, in your view, why are they even bothering to Strike over it and cause such major disruption to children, students and parents and those adults that have real jobs to do and pay taxes, to pay the teachers ???

      All rather sniffs of total arrogance to me !

    • Dave C

      Loggie
      I wouldn’t take too much notice of league tables if I were you. The Pearson tables you quote contradict an earlier report ranking the UK 18th in Europe which is contradicted by the UN HDI Education report which somehow places the UK at No. 1 in the world, which I am sorry to say can not be true. Education systems have too many facets and differences to fairly compared,and the issue is not whos’ got the best or the worst system, teachers etc. I hope we can all agree that a well educated population is an ecconomic necessity for all nations and that can only be achieved by having well trained, well motivated and well paid professional teaching staff at all levels working in a system that puts the students first and foremost.

      • George M

        D.C eeerh, how can we all agree that then ? Teaching is not a profession and teachers are not professional etc …or they would not ever consider to Strike, as there are kids involved and being denied etc

        Que, my goldfish brianed stalker to appear …claiming I am a noise – a yapping Yorkie or a swatted fly. Tiresome but irrelevant …

        BTW, this utter plonker teaches children, scary stuff eh ?

  2. George M

    Ric,

    FYI Slowvak Doctors were on strike this time last year .

    http://www.thedaily.sk/doctors-stay-on-strike-alert-until-laws-take-effect/

  3. George M

    I read today , that the trade unions have not declared exactly how long the strike will last, but this could vary since union members will be able to decide, school by school, when they will return to work? That is not a Strike that is normal for here, part-time normal working for teachers ?

    However, several teachers have already said that even after the end of the official strike they will continue with other forms of protest. One proposal is that even if children come to school, teachers will only look after them rather than teach them.

    How is anyone gonna notice the difference in most Slowvak schools ?

    • cuco

      George, first of all, learn how to spell Slovakia, it is no wv, or vw (volkswagen perhaps?!?!?) as you may think.
      Secondly, howcome teaching is not a profession? What is it then. Voluntary job I suppose! Thats exactly what it is, I work and get little money..!!!

      • George M

        Cuko , one thinks you have been laying eggs in someone else`s nest just once too often . Tell me how is teaching ever a profession ? Professionals don`t go on Strike over pay, they lobby, discuss, come to an amicable arrangement . They seek to improve their profession, standards and attitudes in schools…helping kids with special needs, rather than just suggest to the parents they move school .

        Teaching is a Job ….you come, you go . If not happy with the pay, then more on to another kind of job? There are plenty more queuing behind you ready to take you place .

        • Donal Greene

          So by that logic, doctors are not professionals either? They went on strike last year.

          • George M

            We are in Slowvakia and of course normal ethic rules never really apply here. What did you expect Duck? Doctors here are normally Slowvak born, thus are not always very professional. Always expecting bribes to do the job ( in fact just make some extra effort, or give the drugs you need not to die ) that they have already paid to do by employment contract. I have to say the Doctors I have met here, all did not strike and in my view remain very professional .

            I was for brief while actually excited by the `We don`t take Bribes` sticker campaign, but of course that all frittered out ….

        • Ric

          I think Donal means Doctors in the UK went on strike. Over pensions I recall.

        • Juraj

          HAHAHA , are you serious ? What about those UK teachers in may 2005, this must be photoshoped then! I almost though they were striking!

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/may/28/teachers-unions-threaten-strike-action

    • Dave C

      Despite the best efforts of some to paint Slovak teachers in a good light I am afraid the proposal George M mentions of the plan to attend school but not teach the kids, if true, just demonstrates how arrogant they are as a “profession”.
      Hands up, anyone who knows another group of workers, in any industry, who plan to dictate to the employer what they will or will not do but still expect to get paid. I am not familiar with Slovak employment law but I would have thought any worker who does not comply with their contract of employment can and should be dismissed.
      It is also strange that a group of workers demonstrate their conviction to the cause they consider to be just only if it does not effect their own pockets. I was called out on a selective strike in my younger days because the mainframe computers I operated controlled every function the employer required to function – I got strike pay to hold me over and the Union negotiated a “return to work agreement” which effectively recovered all my lost pay. I didn’t really suffer any hardship because the industrial action was well planned, in advance, so provision could be made both by the Union and the individuals concerned. It all seems a bit arse about face when workers agree to strike but then say they can’t afford to – prior planning and preparation prevents piss poor performance – another basic rule which is considered rocket science here.

  4. alec hodges

    The teachers in Slovakia have a pretty raw deal, and are ludicrously underpaid.
    Dealing with 30 people, at one time,with the diverse mentality of contributors to this site speaks for itself.

    • George M

      Smug, almost 98% of the population is ludicrously underpaid, has a raw deal, given the high cost of living here in Slowvakia

      Teachers are not a profession, in short supply, in any real sense and not a special case for higher pay, pro-rata rather than anyone else?

      ..what point are you actually making ? You feel sorry for 98% Slowvaka workers??

  5. david

    As a teacher in a university, I am slightly better-off but if
    (i) wages were frozen in the UK at 2005 levels (last year I taught there)
    (ii) my current salary increased by 3% a year (as it did this year),
    it would take 46 years for my Slovak salary to reach the 2005 level.

    Another perspective: my current salary is 30% less than my first ever teaching salary in 1992.

    • George M

      David……and….so what ??? Perhaps Slowvakia has a true perspective of the fiscal worth of a teacher ?

      As I said earlier , teachers, the left wing Socialist and PC crowd, across the UK and Europe have turned teaching into profession, which it clearly is not . It does not carry any like responsibility ls say as a Doctor, a surgeon or even a Lawyer . People like Jimboy, love to turn teaching into a black art form, a group of people that should enjoy `special needs status` , where even the hopeless, the Dim but Nice, the just out of their minds, boring and plain lazy should all be equally rewarded for their contribution to the Education system .

      If the Slowvaks don`t like the salary here, then just get on your bikes .

      • Ric

        There are bad lawyers and bad doctors that does not stop them being a profession. Teachers have the responsibility of preparing children for adult life. A bad teacher can ruin a child’s achievement in a subject.

        • George M

          Ric are you a `local` already ?

          As a parent YOU ARE responsible for the education and prep in life of your child, not the school, or any one teacher . They offer you a teaching service, so that you as a parent comply with the Law that demands you send your child to school.

          It is is upto you if you find a bad teacher, to move your child , as you would move if you found a lazy Lawyer or useless Doctor .

          Teaching is not a profession …if it was they would not be on Strike ~

          • James

            It is is upto you if you find a bad teacher, to move your child , as you would move if you found a lazy Lawyer or useless Doctor .

            But if education is the responsibility of parents and if teaching is ‘not a profession’, bad teachers don’t matter. As long as they just baby-sit the kids while mum and dad are out being ‘productive’, then fine. No need to change them at all.

            Funny, of course, how those countries with fully-developed education systems like, say, Finland, South Korea or the USA are also those that tend to do well, whereas countries like, say, Sudan or Somalia have lots of illiterate people and tend not to do quite so well. Guess it’s just a co’incidence.

          • George M

            Jimbo, you`re just making it up as you go along …turn the pages and read at least one lesson on, now there is a good chappie.

            I assume your talking to me, although you dont say so, as you use some my lines, but not actually correctly translated into what I said ………………. ?

            Where did I ever say `bad teachers don’t matter` ?

            ~~~Sudan or Somalia have lots of illiterate people and tend not to do quite so well. Guess it’s just a coincidence.~~~

            How arrogant can you get Jim? ….Perhaps it is because their a recent history of famine, ethnic tribal war, rape, pillage, poverty and murder . Finland etc dont rate that high on the pillage list .

            So, following your line of thought, let`s just suggest to the UN, that they flood the place with `professional` teaching staff, say rather than food and medical supplies and solve theses problems …….geeeeeeeeeze !

          • James

            I assume your talking to me, although you dont say so, as you use some my lines, but not actually correctly translated into what I said ………………. ?

            No George, I quoted exactly what you said. I know you often don’t actually know what you’re saying, but that’s hardly my problem.

            So, following your line of thought, let`s just suggest to the UN, that they flood the place with `professional` teaching staff, say rather than food and medical supplies and solve theses problems …….geeeeeeeeeze !

            Don’t think there’s any need for me to suggest the UN and NGOs send teachers and educational experts to developing countries. They already do it. Illiteracy and lack of access to education are widely recognised as among the biggest problems the developing world faces. Just not by you it would seem.

          • George M

            I can only guess no one who attends your own school Jim, is missing you then today ? Must be getting all twitchy that you not being there actually causes massive problems for many working parents, that contribute to your pay cheque by the taxes that go to your salary .

            BTW . Kindly link me to the comment as you claim I said … `bad teachers don’t matter` ? ….or was that yet another LIE from you ??

            I would not think the UN are sending too many teachers to Sudan or Somalia even they have lots of illiterate people, given the internal fighting problems of both nations . Do you have any real source for your comment ?…ie the UN and NGOs send teachers and educational experts to war footing untries like Sudan or Somalia ( lets stick with your own poor examples rather than safe Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan)

            …….or was that yet another LIE from you ??

          • James

            VSO have an education programme in South Sudan. And the Care Foundation have one of several in Somalia.

            I’m not in the business of lying, so if you were judging me by your standards, I’d appreciate it if you stopped.

            You said : ‘As a parent YOU ARE responsible for the education and prep in life of your child, not the school, or any one teacher.’ Then you said (several times) ‘teaching is not a profession’. You also said ‘it does not carry responsibility like doctor or lawyer’. So MY logical conclusion is that you must believe bad teachers don’t matter. What other logical conclusion is there when parents are responsible for education and teachers don’t have responsibility?

            I doubt there’s oil at the bottom of that hole, George, but you obviously want to dig yourself in deeper. Guess I can only wish you happy shovelling.

          • George M

            The only answer standard you set is your own and in you own reply Jimbo, but just see how Slowvak you become to try and shift your faults to someone else. However, thank you for admitting you Lie and I did not say Bad teachers don`t matter . As many of your outrageous statements, they do not bare up to anyone digging deeper .

            The UN may have `programs` ….but do they have any people in them, that you obviously all omit, as it does not suit the bull .

            As you believe you can just assume everything, without the full facts in your hands MY logical conclusion is that you are really an ignoramus . No wonder teachers pay is so low and no one in Government seeks to increase it . This is a Strike, without any merit, and all you will be is a few weeks lighter in your paypacket, just before Christmas and parents will demand you just get back to the childcare they need. You were doomed to failure from the start .

          • James

            ‘But if education is the responsibility of parents and if teaching is ‘not a profession’, bad teachers don’t matter. As long as they just baby-sit the kids while mum and dad are out being ‘productive’, then fine. No need to change them at all.’

            Here, I believe, is the passage in question. Tell me where in this I QUOTE YOU as saying ‘bad teachers don’t matter’. I presented it as the logical conclusion to what you said, FROM THE VERY START.
            If you can’t read, I suggest you learn – and stop making ridiculous accusations. You’re making yourself look more cretinous with every post.

            The organisations I mentioned have teachers and/or educational experts working in the relevant countries.

          • George M

            Jim, You Just Lied to us all, hoping to gain forum sympathy as you went off the rails with small rant, rather than thinking the problem through and thus your logical conclusion was just flawed . Do you believe you are actually cut out to teach kids …..there are obvious question marks over your honesty ?

            If you make assumptions, rather than base your fabricated and wild statements on fact, you will excuse me if some us bring you to book and challenge the many lies you just spew in the hope of winning any 15 minute argument. Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction as you rattle on, is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

            Finally, ~~~~The organisations I mentioned have teachers and/or educational experts working in the relevant countries…~~~~

            What relevant countries are you now spinning off to now ? I note we have also moved the goal posts ( yet again) to include educational experts?? …What are those exactly, or do these just live in your teaching world of Harry Potter??? ……….Oh heavens, this was not yet another Lie ?

            Ah coffee and cake time …..again . BTW . Will you be able to afford coffee soon ?

          • James

            http://www.edexec.co.uk/news/1861/vso-appeal-for-education-specialists-in-south-sudan-/

            http://www.care.org/about/index.asp

            It goes like this. I ask you questions about what you say. You say the questions are ‘irrelevant’ , ergo you can’t answer them. I ask again. You resort to the old staples of anyone suffering a serious lack of self-esteem when an argument’s getting on top of them – denigration or personal abuse of the other person.

            You’re not even the schoolyard bully who cries to mummy when he gets a dose of his own medicine. You’re just noise – a yapping Yorkie or a swatted fly. Tiresome but irrelevant. Goodnight.

          • George M

            Well employing passed over Majors, would be one thing, but passed over teachers ?? Christ, pleading for volunteer`s is a last gasp, no ?

            ~~~You resort to the old staples of anyone suffering a serious lack of self-esteem when an argument’s getting on top of them – denigration or personal abuse of the other person. You’re not even the schoolyard bully who cries to mummy when he gets a dose of his own medicine. You’re just noise – a yapping Yorkie or a swatted fly. Tiresome but irrelevant. Goodnight.~~~

            Good to see you take the cut & thrust of debate so calmly Jimbo …it is obvious to us all what a level headheaded thinker your are. If ignorance is bliss, you must be the happiest teacher alive.

  6. Ric

    As Ireland has created a good education system so the Slovaks could employ Irish to help improve their system.

    • George M

      ahahahahahah……..in Nationalist, unlevel playing field Slovwakia . Them employ another nation of people to teach them ???

      Ric , mate you have a lot to learn here . Aryan Slowvaks know everything, are educated in everything , everyone else is always wrong and in the land of milk and honey, any outside advice is just rejected, unless a bribe in involved .

      Slowvaks could not even follow agreed instructions on the design of a 2 euro coin, let alone extra bailout EU funding and that is why we have Bob Fico and his band of merry robber men in control of Parliament .

      • Donal Greene

        Our education system is very good but not perfect. The fabric of our system is not resources or facilities (although they are always improving), it is the teachers. The brightest students in our school are attracted to vocations such as teaching, medicine, law etc because they offer attractive salaries, great benefits and ample opportunities for progress and general job satisfaction. If I were an 18 year old intelligent Slovak who was interested in all of the above, there is not a hope I would consider teaching. I’d be on the first plane to Australia or somewhere to dig mines and save money for a couple of years. The best and brightest have no incentive to work for the public service in this country.

        The government here is more interested in offering ridiculous tax breaks to corporations while papering over the cracks in healthcare, education and the legal system.

        • Dave C.

          Donal
          Fully agree with everything you have posted. I don’t think any country can boast a perfect education system. The comparison between Eire and the SVK is a good one to continue with. Both countries had ecconomies largly based on agricultural, Eire established the infrastructure for industrial and commercial diversification by focusing its efforts on the key areas that would effect change, especially education, and attract new, high value industries. The dividends of this approach produced the Celtic Tiger and despite the short term problems the country faces it still has one of the strongest ecconomies in Europe. Slovakia on the other hand, opted to focus on attracting traditional industries which don’t require a well educated workforce hence newly qualified teachers, engineers etc moving abroad in droves or the very common situation of highly qualified Slovaks forced to take dead end, menial jobs. I think another reason why the best and brightest are not attracted into the public services is that they are perceived as lacking real career opportunities, most probably because everyone knows that progression in those services is difficult if you don’t have the “right connections”.

  7. Dave C.

    Donal – You cite the situation in the Irish Republic but that isn’t really a fair comparision. Eire has spent millions over the last years specifically on improvements of the entire education system – primary, secondary, vocational, university and college with an emphasis on teacher training at all levels. You now have one of the most enviable education system in the world. Slovakia has not done the same, many independant reports on the education system here outline the “continuing failures” ie nothing has changed from the good old days. This, in part, can be attributed to the management of educational establishments which in many cases are run by people who are products of the former communist system and have the same, outdated, “why change” attitude to the job.
    Yes, teaching is a difficult vocation, Yes there are some excellent teachers here in Slovakia. There are also many excellent teachers here who can’t get jobs. I know old guards teachers who are full-time who only teach one or two lessons a day while bright young teachers present 3 or 4 times as many lessons but are only employed part-time (Dohodu?). The same state teachers have refused or given excuses not to attend update training. I know of some who are so underworked because of over staffing they run their own private little businesses during their payed work time. There has been no effort here either to get rid of the dead wood or establish any reasonable monitoring of teaching practices.
    Why are many of the best a brightest young teachers moving to teach abroad? ask them, in fact ask any avergae Joe, it isn’t just the money, appointment to any state or local government post is a matter of who you know not what you know. Cronyism, nepotism and plain corruption are destroying all the public services in this country and that includeds education.
    Some have mentioned being parent governors back in the UK – there is no such thing here, well not in this area. The head teachers answer to no-one, hence the recently reported cases of teachers being blackmailed with bonus payments, school heads lording it from their palacial offices, complete with plasma TVs, B&O HiFi and bespoke leather furniture while the kids are lucky to have a servicable desk, chair or text books, parents refused permission to redecorate the school because the head had given the inflated contract to his best mate and the brand new, EU funded, roof blown off in a gentle summer breeze.
    We then have the issue who will pay for the teachers, court workers and no doubt legions of other state workers who will be jumping on the gravy train this winter. Why should the average worker have to face a very real cut in his or her disposable income and state workers be shielded from this reality?

    • James

      ‘Yes, teaching is a difficult vocation, Yes there are some excellent teachers here in Slovakia.’

      ‘…bright young teachers present 3 or 4 times as many lessons but are only employed part-time (Dohodu?).’

      So they should get a 10% pay cut? Or would you like to explain/retract the statement you made at the start of this thread?

      • Dave C

        James
        I probably did not explain my stance on this matter clearly.
        I fully agree that teachers, in all societies, should be paid a decent wage for the important work they do. What I attempted to point out is that the education system here is a shambles, there are so many failings with regard to management, funding, career progression, parental involvement, employment practices etc. and that I don’t agree with across the board pay demands when no improvement is offered in return. So I will modify my comments, the dead wood and ineffective teachers should have a pay cut to fund the better ones and, although I support the principle, that does not involve a complicated performance monitoring system. Why should full-time teachers, favoured teachers present less lessons than their colleagues yet get more pay?
        The drawing of comparisions with pay in other countries is not really helpful, it’s a pipe dream to think pay in the SVK will ever reach the levels of “western Europe” in our lifetime. There is clearly no desire by any of the politicians to drive real improvement of the education system, probably because of vested interests and as a result many young Slovak teachers are moving abroad. Every public service in this country, possibly with the exception of the Fire and Rescue Service, needs a radical overhaul and all the outdated and, dare I say, corrupt practises need consigning to the bin.

        • James

          Fair enough, I’ve made similar points myself, if with a slightly different emphasis.

          I’m not in favour of defending lazy, incompetent teachers and have never said I am. These people can be fairly easily exposed through lesson observations, checking the thoroughness/quality of marking, whether essential admin has/hasn’t been done etc – and they should be.
          The problem is, though, once you start putting all your stress on incompetent teachers, as OFSTED used to do back in the UK, you’re also tarring the decent/good/excellent ones with the same brush.

          None of that begins to address what factors ‘performance-related pay’ for teachers should involve. But my questions about it elsewhere on this board still lie unanswered.

          ‘The drawing of comparisions with pay in other countries is not really helpful, it’s a pipe dream to think pay in the SVK will ever reach the levels of “western Europe” in our lifetime.’

          I’d agree with you there, though a reasonable wage relative to living standard for a profession that, in every European country, requires full qualifications, should not be beyond us. But, as we seem to agree, that’s only one element of raising standards and the status of the job.

          The mountain rescue service is pretty brilliant too, I’d say.

  8. George M

    Oh Jim, get over it ..whatever it is . What are you now the Gold Standard for comment judge ? Still to crap comment number 2 then ?

    Sorry, I never agree with strikes, even in the sunny Slowvakia, it hardly like the Victorian days where you where forced to be in the workhouse for 25 hours a day, pay 5bob a week to owner of the factory just to work there and we all lived in the luxury of a hole in the road, with a tarpaulin thrown over it .

    I have worked as self employed since 1982 ..thus the more I got paid, as the harder I worked . I know the pay is crap here, but if you dont like the pay of the job, then do something else, no ? Perhaps if there was an actual shortage of teachers here, which I believe there is NOT in Slovakia, then perhaps teachers would just have to be paid more and on the basis of supply and demand alone. Whilst we need teachers, there has to be some demand …this is one of these job that does not, as yet not create that situation .

    What there is in Slowvakia however, a strong demand for is good teachers,rather than those just doing the job and workin one page ahead of the lesson .So I am more a performance related increase pay scheme guy. How you actually effect that idea in corrupt, nepotism,cronyism, my friend from my old school mate got me this position Slovakia is still beyond me .

    I guess good luck then teachers and 150 quid and the rest less in your pay packet with Christmas a month away . BTW. Why not have the strike in July and August ?? Oh that`s right the teachers are all on eight weeks paid holiday!

    • James

      I work hard too, I like my job (99% of the time), I’m fully qualified for it, and I do it to the best of my ability, which I like to think is pretty well. And that’s why I get just a bit brassed off when people who have proved they know absolutely zero about what that job actually entails start slagging those who do it.

      I respect all sorts of people whose jobs I suspect I couldn’t do. That includes those who’ve built businesses up by themselves, doctors, soldiers, and others besides.

      I’ve said before what I think about the strike. Essentially, Peter’s comment is closest to my thinking, because demands for a 10% increase at this time are unrealistic.

      And the whole thing should be about more than just salaries anyway. It should be about raising the status of the profession – better training, more support for special needs, that kind of thing….

      • George M

        Now who lives in his own little world ?

        Know about the Job ? Well actually I do a bit, as I was The Chair, as a Parent School Governor for many years . I met good teachers, that had respect of parents and peers groups and then there was the others …oh yuk !

        As I said, this `pay` is all about individuals, and you cannot lumb everyone into one payscale fits all . The other problem is imho and from talking to expats who have kids here in State schools is, Mrs Director ( yes always a menopausal woman of a past the sellby age and of sour Cod fish face ) runs her school like her own personal serfdom, with it`s own made up rules, regulations and teaching program and damm what the State demands, or what is the requirement in Law.

        The 10% is quite realistic and there is the budget ….just dont pay the useless Judges their 400 quid increase this year ( from 3500 quid to 3900 quid) and redistribute it to teachers pay …a popular vote catcher if ever I saw one !

        • James

          ‘I was The Chair, as a Parent School Governor for many years .’

          Fair enough, that job definitely needs an understanding of education and how to run a school. Whether it means you know what it means to be a teacher is a slightly different matter.

          Payment by results/performance (whatever you want to call it) is something I’m personally against. Even those who support it struggle when it comes to defining the criteria. I mean we can all, every last one of us, recall good teachers and awful ones, but our judgements are subjective. What should the objective criteria be? Examination results? Should these be ‘value-added’? Extra-curricular activities? Extra qualifications? On the basis of lesson observations? A mixture of all these and more? I’m not dismissing the idea, I’m saying it’s more complex than it appears. It’s nothing like paying (say) salesman on that basis.

          Say I do a lot of extra-curricular stuff and give a lot of individual/small-group help with things like exam preparation but my classroom methods could use a bit of modernisation. Should I get more/less dosh than sb who’s a whizz in the classroom but doesn’t give much of a toss beyond his designated working hours? And who would decide this?

          When I was a kid, I had a chemistry teacher at who would have won ‘world’s most boring man’ (and I’d probably come second…). But he got every last one of us through GCE, as dense in the subject as some of us were. Would he rate higher pay?

          I think you do talk some sense on this, yet you can’t seem to get beyond salaries and the problem goes beyond that, certainly in Slovakia. The whole education system needs a proper, professional review and then a lot of reform. Personally, I might not change an awful lot about early-years education, but the rest needs a lot of change. Raising the status of teachers by getting the right people into the profession, giving quality training both pre and post qualification, improving special needs provision etc etc are all parts of this. So is (ultimately) improving the pay – however we want to do that.

          Is any of this going to happen? Probably not. But even so, there are still some pretty amazing students here doing great things at school, partly thanks to the dedication of their teachers. Shame most of them are likely to leave the country.

          • George M

            Well you raise a number of interesting points, to set up the fog and mirror discussion, but you then side step, with the claim this is not just about pay. The fact is, unless you missed it, Teachers are going on Strike on Monday, in Slowvakia and until they get fed up, all for a 10% pay rise ( having been offered 5%) This Strike is not to support their demands for a better Education system . If they were, I ( and even D.C I suspect) might just have a bit more time for all of them .

            You do make me laugh Jim, when you suggest that being a teacher is somehow a special job and a special position that cannot be assessed on any one basis? How many times have I heard that bull in a school meeting . On the one hand you suggest what a varied day life it can be and so are the myriad of efforts of individual people in it , but then YOU don`t was to be judged and paid as an individual, but you are happy to be paid the same, like any factory assembly worker that does the same treadmill job, each and every day? QED . Who decides what a teacher gets paid on a performance related system? Why what is wrong with the management of the School ? This happens in most Business, and yes is subjective …that does not mean it is in anyway unfair thou ?

            Like any other Service, teachers fills the gaps of knowledge, time or even in childcare needs , that parents would require say of a car, washing machine, or PC repairman . The great bit I love is when the emotional bit get thrown in, `oh but their are children involved` …and then the teachers forget, they are actually there in employment because of time evolution, where the State demands every child gets an equal opportunity of a fair education.In many cases parents already supply a great part of that good education to their kids, but are often and deliberately just excluded from the teaching process, as in Slowvakia the Professionals know best . Old habits die hard here, and whilst the State demands the parents send their kids for an education, they are not now the State owed kids !

            When Slowvak teachers and Directors, start to understand they are at a School to Provide a Service, to children, parents, the taxpayer etc and that their own employment is just a byproduct of a need for that service that the State has decided, then we could start to discuss sensible pay rates, with some constructive chat .

          • James

            Your first paragraph is just you putting up your straw man. I’ve said what I think of the strike and what I think the discussions should be about. That’s what’s relevant to the debate we’re trying to have now, not positions I haven’t taken but that you want to assign to me anyway.

            I’m not totally dismissing payment by performance, I’m expressing scepticism. Still, your second para is interesting. First of all, this :
            ‘you are happy to be paid the same, like any factory assembly worker that does the same treadmill job..’ Is that actually a good comparison? In my (brief) factory working days, there were piece-rates and/or other incentives to do more. Performance in that kind of job is fairly easily measurable, of course, but I pointed out five possible measurements of teacher-performance and you didn’t comment on one of them. So you want to apply a concept, yet not bother to think out what it would actually mean in practice(?)

            In any case, in Sk, the school management does actually have some say over individuals’ pay, in the form of ‘personal rewards’, which can significantly affect the monthly pay-packet. I don’t mind the principle, I’m just not convinced it is, in fact, always a fair reflection of performance. I’d also wonder, given your vivid portrait of the typical Sk school head, whether you really think school management are the right people to administer this. As it stands, in Sk, the school head IS the management.

            And the other thing I miss in Sk schools, which we haven’t addressed at all, is that there’s no real career progression. You can be (eg) a head of dept, but there’s little real decision-making responsibility involved. The whole structure is top-down, even dictatorial. Maybe pay-scales for POSITION are what we need to look at first. Those are also things that exist in companies.

            ‘In many cases parents already supply a great part of that good education to their kids, but are often and deliberately just excluded from the teaching process’

            I do agree with that as it stands, and it’s a big priority for change. There is another side though, which is that teachers are often in a position to notice things about a child/student that the parent hasn’t – a minor learning difficulty, say. It bothers me that some parents would rather try to somehow cover this up than get what help they can. It all points to one problem this society has real trouble with – that different groups of people don’t communicate properly, even in a common interest.

            As for the last para, well, it all depends on how important that service is perceived to be, doesn’t it? And how important it is to do a good job within it. Since we’re both devoting lots of words to the topic, seems we think it IS important….

          • George M

            Blimmy Jim, a another reply without the words, wacko, idiot or in your world George …perhaps at last you are starting to give me the respect I deserve . You do make me laugh Jimbo, laughing at you of course, not with you .

            I am slightly worried about D.C who seems to have taken my place as the forum hatchetman …even his words are becoming more violent towards Slowvaks …And as for Smug …has he had a personality change or what ?…so many barbed comments of late . Just you to to go now .

            No , I don`t think the school management should actually have some say over individuals’ pay, in the form of ‘personal rewards’, which can significantly affect the monthly pay-packet, period .

            School Directors ( Normally a `Doctor ` in some subject ) are in a nice comfortable life …why tip the cart by paying the serf`s down there more money ???

            The real problem Teachers face is the reality that they really are not as Important to life`s plan as THEY love to believe they are . Parents of these teachers, still believe that education gives someone a status beyond their actual need , that is why we have so many Ing, Mgr etc …it is like the idiots in the UK put OBE or CBE after their names ….wear the badge and you can ve seen to be important .

            Sorry I did not answer many of your questions this time , but they were actually irrelevant and not that important .

            Ah coffee and cake time …..

          • James

            ‘…they were actually irrelevant and not that important.’

            Giving up when the debate’s getting a bit tough for you in other words…..

            Just one last point then as I reflect yet again on the fact that attacks on my profession are still being made by those who know diddly squat about it – the Ing/Mgr pomposity pervades every profession in this country.

          • George M

            Jim, you Mr Tough Arguement , sorry no, I was having a hard time not taking the pee out of you`re self serving statements …or were they a Teachers normal songsheet rant ? Still I also had coffee and my Stollen cake to think about ?

            Here is the thing and why you are becoming boring, I want to discuss pay and how it can be delivered to teachers, YOU want to discuss everything else but that .

            Do you not think I have not met this before, where teachers believe that for every little thing they do ..after school clubs, going to Football matches and extra help to kids etc , that they all are brainwashed by their Union to believe they should be paid for in advance, or on the nail, to admire their possible future contribution, rather than on `productive` pay scale decided by management. Teachers tend to rather like some pay via collective bargaining? It allows both the wheat and chaff to benefit . Quite wrong IMHO . Fact is, many of us that works in business do many jobs for free, and work longer hours for free …because it gets them noticed and they hope promotion, pay rises will of course follow there efforts .

            Of course, teachers like waitress nurses what always to seen as special case .

            Teachers never want to discuss productivity, just pay …and during the last twenty years in the UK , we have them almost turning teaching into a dark black art, were the job is viewed by the PC crowd, like a true profession, say a Doctor or Lawyer which of course it is not, as almost anyone could become a school teacher, if they were just unambitious enough.

            BTW. How`s that for giving up then, Jimboy ?

          • James

            ‘I want to discuss pay and how it can be delivered to teachers, YOU want to discuss everything else but that .’

            ‘Teachers never want to discuss productivity, just pay’

            These sentences are either ;

            a) further evidence that you really don’t know what you want to say or
            b) (finally – and about time) you acknowledge that my stance is somewhat different from that of the teaching unions.
            The first option seems more likely, the second is me trying to be nice.

            ‘almost anyone could become a school teacher, if they were just unambitious enough.’

            This, in contrast, is merely laughable. It’s in the same bracket as saying ‘anybody could be a successful businessman if they were greedy enough’.

          • George M

            ~~anybody could be a successful businessman if they were greedy enough ~~~

            Jimbo, being attacked by you, is rather like being hit round the face with a wet fish .

            Nothing wrong with greed. greed is good, said Gordon Gekko and as a starting motivator …You also need focus, drive, to duck and dive, work around the problems, don`t sit in a box, time schedule your day and the evenings, work smart, work hard .

            …well no school teacher could ever be accused of any of that, now could they?

  9. James

    Four good comments here. As for the other one….

  10. NY

    A friend of mine teaches at an art school with a catholic affiliation and they made all the professors signed a document where they stated they would not attend the strike as the school is a Catholic school, though is economically funded by the state. A definitely example of illegal practices.. Furthermore, the salaries are really depressing. As a full time professor they get after taxes less than 350EUR monthly!!!!!!!!!

  11. Ric

    Without a decent education system or massive natural resources a country can not earn its way. The offer of 5% is less then my personal inflation and 5% of sod all is still sod all.

    Few people will study for 5 years to be treated like a flunky and paid less than a checkout assistant. However I’d gladly pay extra tax if it went straight to frontine staff such as teachers and doctors. If the state is not able to provide education, which looks to be the case then free schools funded by the parental bodies and financially transparent may be an option.

    In the meantime: Is there a place where we can donate to the strike fund?

    Fight the power

  12. Donal Greene

    Public teachers here earn a disgracefully low salary. It can be half or even a third of what Slovak teachers in private schools earn. In Ireland a fresh graduate teacher earns at least 30k per year with lots of incremental increases (2k per year). Shit in, shit out.

  13. Peter

    point is that their salary is far away below of the average level. They deserve much more, but if i would be on theri side i would take these 5% and will negotiate in next months…

  14. Dave C.

    Public employees demanding an additional 10% to paid by the rest of us – yeah right – 10% pay cut sounds better to me.

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