Warsaw: Protest against Cuts in Education

On April 29, a picket was held at the City Hall against planned cuts in education. Across Poland, drastic cuts have been taking place in the last 2 years: hundreds of schools have been closed, some categories of educational institutions lost their status and the workers lost the rights guaranteed to teachers and about 7000 teachers lost their jobs. Twice as many teachers will lose their jobs this year and various cuts are being made.

In Warsaw, the cuts will mean that special lessons for handicapped children in pre-schools will be cut, the limit on the maximum number of children in a class will be eliminated, school caretakers, who already earn about minimum wage, will have their hours cut, and other education workers will lose their jobs.

Our picket was the first one called in reaction to the announced plans. We plan a larger action in the City Council soon. Several statements were read about the effects of the proposed cuts and the situation leading to the precarization of education workers. People who talked to us were surprised to learn about the extent of hiring on trash contracts which already exist in education, even in the public schools. Teachers from ZSP explained this and about how they work in sectors where more and more people have precarious work.

A very negative note to the action was the fact that, open learning about it, a functionary from a mainstream union wrote pages of hate mail to a member of our union and apparently was very angry that we are going on "his topic". In response, he called another picket for the same day and time - but on a dead end side street with nobody there. When some teachers from mainstream unions informed about this picket on Facebook, they were told to remove it and put about the other picket instead.

This is the way the mainstream unions act, not even cooperating with themselves, just trying to control their members. We also note that the mainstream unions have done shit to deal with the problems going on, with one union boss recently saying in an interview that teachers don't strike because their situation is very good.

It can also be noted that, in order to scare off other teachers, the so-called "left" unionist acting in this way uses the same tactics as right-wing goons from the city, calling us dangerous radicals. We are hoping that the very few teachers who are doing something (and it is unfortunately almost nobody) will see through these manipulations of their leaders and protest in the City Council. But we have little hope for the teachers who are kept on a leash by the unions which prefer to just live off labor management, instead of fighting.



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