Teachers in the German state of Hessen are to strike on June 16th. They work 42 hours a week, as against 40 in the rest of Germany, with no increase in pay. The teachers are demanding a reduction in hours, especially in view of the massive extra workload which they have suffered over the last ten years. To make matters worse their pay has been frozen. They are also calling for proper funding for education and an end to tax policies which favour the rich at the expense of public services and proper recognition of the professionalism of teachers.

Teachers point out that while other employees have seen their pay rise and their hours fall over the years, exactly the opposite has happened to them. The state is pleading poverty and yet its tax take is steadily increasing. The union, which represents the teachers, says that Hessen's CDU (conservative) / Green coalition is treating them as fools.

The teachers who all fall into the category of 'Beamten' or civil servants, have traditionally not gone on strike. In the past it was held that they were not entitled to strike. However it has now been established that this is in contravention of the European Human Rights law, so the government will not be able to take legal measures to attack the strike.

A state wide rally is planned in Wiesbaden on the 16th. 

Meanwhile the nationwide has halted for the time being while arbitration takes place. Unions are however keeping up their protests and their demands that the work of early years teachers and assistants be properly recognised and rewarded.