Greek teachers drop strike plans during exam period
ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
Greek teachers dressed as soldiers demonstrate in central Athens on May 13, 2013. AFP photoGreek school teachers early on Thursday abandoned plans to hold a strike during university entry exams after the government enacted an emergency decree to force them back to work.
"There are colleagues facing dismissal, we don't want families to cry and homes to shut," Nikos Papachristos, head of the main teachers union OLME, told To Vima radio.
A vote by the union late on Wednesday failed to secure the necessary majority to pursue the strike, which was to begin on Friday.
Greece's top administrative court had earlier refused a union plea to suspend the government's emergency action.
The country's main unions also refused to agree to OLME's request to hold a general strike on Friday to support the teachers' labour action. A four-hour work stoppage has been called for Thursday instead.
OLME opposes expected job cuts, obligatory transfers and an extension of teaching hours.
It also objects to school closures and mergers, and is resisting a mandatory evaluation plan for teachers which it says will be carried out under political criteria instead of merit.
School teachers have suffered major pay cuts as a result of the harsh austerity programme imposed on the indebted country by its international creditors.
Facing a sixth year of continuous recession, Greece was obliged to adopt a strict austerity programme that includes salary and pension cuts as part of its EU-IMF bailout deal.
The European Union and the International Monetary Fund have committed a total of 240 billion euros in rescue loans to Greece since 2010.