Teachers in Lisbon strike over low pay, poor working conditions
"For the banks there are millions, for us there are only pennies," was one of the slogans chanted by angered teachers.
In light of the current cost of living crisis that has swept across the EU, Portugal's public teachers marched in the streets of Lisbon on Saturday to demand better pay and working conditions.
About 80,000 demonstrators marched in the capital city of Lisbon, complaining that they are the lowest-paid senior civil servants whose financial condition has deteriorated following a hike in inflation which has recently reached new highs in the past 30 years.
The average salary for a teacher in the lowest band typically ranges around 1,100 euros per month while that of the highest bands does not exceed the 2,000 mark.
Workers in the education sector have been waging strikes on an area-by-area basis across the country's 18 districts since early December.
These strikes often last over a prolonged time and cause schools to close down, leaving students unable to attend classes.
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The government has condemned the Union of All Education Professionals (STOP) because it does not have a fixed schedule and strikers only refuse to work certain hours on a specific day but are still able to close schools.
Its been a year since Prime Minister Antonio Costa won a majority in parliament and his recent popularity ratings have been falling down in light of the protests which include workers and unions from various industries and public sectors, including doctors.
The STOP union demanded that wages of teacher and school employees be increased by at least 120 euros ($130) a month and speeds up career progression.
The demand has yet to be responded to as the government has still not made a counter-proposal.
It did nonetheless specify that it will raise the monthly wages of all civil servants who earn up to about 2,600 euros by 52 euros.
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