Romanian teachers threatens strike to demand higher wages

Some 40,000 Romanian teachers are threatening an all-out strike next week to demand higher wages, a major trade union said Wednesday. The strike will begin Monday, the day when students return to school after half-term, said the leader of the Federation of Free Trade Unions in Education.

"From Monday Nov. 7th all teachers in four trade unions will go on a general strike for an unlimited period. We will discuss a battle plan with the other trade unions," said Aurel Cornea, trade union leader. On Tuesday, 200 teachers staged a protest outside parliament calling for 6 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product to be allocated to education.

Teachers have protested low wages, insufficient spending on education since the school year began in September.

In October, more than 40,000 teachers went on a two-hour strike Wednesday to call for higher wages and more money for schools. Teachers are demanding a minimum monthly salary equivalent to Ђ250 (US$300) per month. Starting salaries are about 3 million lei (Ђ75; US$100) a month, about a third of the average monthly wage in Romania.

In October, Education Minister Mircea Miclea resigned, citing "chronic underfunding" of the school system. He has remained in office temporarily, and has said that that he agreed with the teachers' demands, reports the AP. I.L.

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