Teachers on strike could face "disciplinary measures"
Education Minister Srdjan Verbic has said that those teachers who did not hold classes on Monday will not receive pay for that day.Source: B92, Beta
He also told TV Pink that headmasters could also start disciplinary action against the strikers "if there has been a more serious violation of the work process."
He stressed that education sector trade unions' announcements that students will not be given final grades at the upcoming end of the semester "remain empty threats," adding he "does not want to believe that will happen."
"I hope the strike in schools is over and that they will continue to work in line with the law. But what happened yesterday cannot pass without consequences," he said after about 300 out of Serbia's 1,768 schools decided not to hold classes on Monday.
Verbic said he "could not understand the unions' moves," stressing that "the solution for the education sector was pay grades, but that won't be achieved by striking."
The minister added that a new collective agreement will be drafted by mid-January when the old one expires.
Some 1,000 education sector workers gathered for a protest in Belgrade on Monday, saying that the response to the call to go on strike was poor in the capital but that some 300 schools in Cacak, Kraljevo, Krusevac, Nis, Zrenjanin and other towns joined.
Slobodan Brajkovic, president of the Trade Union of Education Workers of Serbia, addressed the protest to say they were demanding compensation in 2015 for their wage deductions, immediate signing of special collective agreements and the drafting of a law on the basics of the education system.
They announced a new protest for January 26.
Previously, it was reported that the striking teachers demand to be exempt from pay cuts in the public sector and want establishment of pay grades. Since November 17, those on strike have been cutting classes from 45 to 30 minutes.