Are the teachers in Croatia right to strike?

Teachers in Croatia have expanded the protests they have been holding since mid-October and are staging a general strike this week which they say won't end until the government starts negotiating with them. The latter has so far rejected the teachers' demand for a pay rise of about six percent. For some of the country's media the teachers have lost all sense of proportion.

Open/close all quotes
Večernji list (HR) /

Children are not playthings

Using schoolchildren as a way of pushing through one's own goals is reprehensible, Večernji list fumes:

“The striking teachers should know that the ombudswoman for children's rights is right when she warns that according to national and international regulations the interests of children are to take precedence over all actions that also have to do with children. ... Children are not playthings. People in an official capacity whose job it is to care for their well-being must not use them as fodder in their own struggles. Those who do sully the work of good teachers who work with children not because they couldn't get any other qualification, but out of love for their job. ... Only such teachers guarantee that society will progress.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

A question of honour

The action has long been about more than money, Jutarnji list believes:

“The strike by teachers and professors has reached a phase in which the question of wages that was behind it initially is no longer the main issue. ... Now the driving motive is defending the honour of the profession entrusted with our children's education. If parents support the strike, it's not so that the teachers will get six hundred, seven hundred or a thousand kuna more pay, but because their children are important to them. And they want them to be taught by people who are content and have a material status that puts them in the upper middle class rather than robbing them of their social standing.”