Teachers all over Italy are on strike today, campaigning against privatisation, cuts to education and to conditions in schools which are being imposed by the government. The last collective agreement expired in 2009.

Teachers are particularly angry about the treatment of their colleagues on temporary contracts. A recent European Court decision ruled that teachers who had been working for 36 months on temporary contracts should be made permanent. It is estimated that there are about 250,000 teachers in this position. As a result, the government of Matteo Renzi has decided to avoid court action by offering permanent contracts to 100,000 temporary staff and laying off the rest, even though many of them have given years of service. As a supportive statement from the European section of Education International, ETUCE, puts it: 'The eventual termination of employment of all those teachers who have been exploited for years and have finally hoped for some fairness and job security after the European Court of Justice's decision, is a slap in their face.'

Moreover the bill would introduce privatisation into the public school system, by making schools compete for private sector finance as well as making students doing technical subjects do unpaid apprenticeships.

The new contract would also see increases in teachers' workload, as well as the awarding of huge new powers to school principals who, according to the ETUCE article, 'could then decide everything from evaluation to didactics, from salary to teachers' recruitment, ignoring cultural pluralism and teaching freedom as core values of schools' autonomy.'

Today's strike follows on from protests last week including funeral flash mobs, in mourning for the public education system if the law is passed. Protest marches and rallies are taking place all over Italy today, with events in Rome, Milan and Palermo amongst others. Teachers union leaders say that if the ironically named 'good school' reform bill is not withdrawn, they will strike again on May 12th