MADRID – Teachers in Madrid will go on strike on May 26. Their main demand is the introduction of a 35-hour working week. Furthermore, they also want the same salary as teachers in other regions, fewer compulsory teaching hours and a reduction in bureaucracy in education.
The teachers thus join the care staff who stop working on the same day. Healthcare workers have virtually the same requirements for their own sector and are striking for the third time in a short period. Unions CCOO, UGT and CSIT have called for the strike. Moreover, this strike comes at a sensitive time, two days before the local elections.
Teachers in the Madrid region feel disadvantaged compared to their colleagues in the rest of the country. In 2011, the 35-hour working week for civil servants was abolished throughout Spain. Instead, civil servants had to work 37.5 hours a week. Since then, this has been reversed in most regions, but not yet in Madrid.
Salary is behind
The average salary in Madrid is also lagging behind that in other regions. Sometimes by up to € 400 per month. And that while the cost of living in the Madrid region is higher than elsewhere in the country.
More compulsory classes
The compulsory number of teaching hours is also higher in Madrid. In primary education, teachers must spend at least 25 hours on face-to-face education, in secondary school 20. Meanwhile, in most other regions this is 23 and 18 hours per week respectively. According to the trade unions, this is at the expense of other tasks, such as properly preparing lessons or extracurricular activities. Therefore, in their view, this affects the quality of education.
Finally, the teachers are overwhelmed with all kinds of administrative work, such as having to fill in various forms. Furthermore, they also share this complaint with the healthcare workers. According to the unions, this bureaucracy leads to extra work pressure, causing teachers to drop out or retire earlier.
In Spain, tasks such as education and care are largely the responsibility of the regions. Teachers and healthcare staff are mostly civil servants. Moreover, the strike is well timed, because two days later, on Sunday 28 May, elections will take place for (most of) the autonomous regions and for the municipal councils.
The government of the Madrid region is in the hands of the conservative Partido Popular. Furthermore, during previous protests, the local economy and finance minister, Javier Fernándeze-Lasquetty, has already said he wants to stick to the 37.5-hour working week for civil servants