The Greek secondary teachers' union OLME has rejected calls by the education minister to work an extra two hours a week to offset short staffing in public schools. The public education sector in Greece has suffered massively since the financial crisis hit the country in 2010. Many schools have been shut, teachers have been made redundant, teachers' pay has been cut almost in half and their pension rights attacked. All of these attacks were caused by the previous government doing the bidding of the so-called Troika - who are in the process of strangling the country in an attempt to wrest payments for bondholders and bankers. 

OLME has been in the forefront of the fight back, as we have reported for many years on this site. Now with the Syriza government having been blackmailed into accepting more austerity, it looks as though the attacks will start up again. A spokesperson for OLME said: 'We will oppose any discussion about managing the acute problems of education by hurting teachers’ labor rights'. They accused the minister of failing to hire sufficient full time or substitute teachers to plug the gaps in the school system.

Last month's Education International world congress passed an urgency motion, committing the global union federation to support Greek teachers and to co-ordinate action to fight both austerity and other neoliberal policies. The motion was proposed by Themis Kotsifakis, the outgoing President of OLME.