Education International
Education International

EI throws support behind Moldovan union to kick start salary negotiations

published 14 April 2014 updated 15 April 2014

Moldova’s Prime Minister has made a personal pledge to find the sources needed to increase teacher pay by 1 May following a week of mass teacher-led protests outside of parliament.

Prime Minister Iurie Leanc? made the announcement 11 April on the heels of Education International throwing its support behind its Moldovan affiliate, the Education and Science Trade Union (ESTU), after spending the last year-and-a-half making futile attempts to engage its government in salary negotiations.

The union called on EI to intervene following months without progress or consultation with the government. The ESTU President, Dumitru Ivanov, says that the situation is quickly deteriorating for teachers, who are paid nearly 52 percent less than the country’s average wage.

“We have to get talking because teachers deserve wages they can live on decently, which isn’t happening now,” said Ivanov, adding that “poor working conditions are making the situation worse.”

Wanted - decent pay

The union is calling for a package of measures to improve salary conditions, including a 50 percent pay increase backdated to 1 January, 2014, which it says would attract new teachers to join the ranks, and provide current teachers with decent living conditions.

Rallying behind its affiliate’s demands in a letter dated 25 March, EI’s General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen also forcefully condemned the reported interference with the union’s right to strike through threats of sackings by school managers in charge of school payrolls and teacher recruitment.

"The increasing descent into poverty of Moldovan teachers is unacceptable,” said van Leeuwen. “Quality education requires teachers that are valued and respected.  The Moldovan government must not forget that education and training of young people are critical to Moldova’s development!  And that means properly funded public education".

In addition to EI’s letter, the Moldovan union’s two partners in development cooperation, Sweden’s Lärarförbundet and UNSA Education in France, also helped to get talks under way.