Macedonian teachers are facing threats to themselves and their children as a result of their stand for better funding for education and an end to bullying evaluation processes. Teachers in the country can earn less than the minimum wage of about $330 a month. Moreover a new 'evaluation' system means that teacher can be fined up to $56 if their evaluations of students differ from those of external evaluators - a system which even given the unfairness of performance related pay in general is so draconian as to defy belief.

When negotiations got nowhere last September, teachers called for a strike only to be met by a government directive that principals should replace striking teachers with substitutes - a move aimed at frightening teachers into thinking they would lose their jobs if they struck and of course undermining the effectiveness of the strike. When the strike was called off the government offered negotiaions but these led nowhere, prompting the teachers union SONK to call a new strike for this month - the threats to teachers and their families have been the result of this decision.

The director of the European Teachers Union ETUCE is in Skopje today to try to get the government to the negotiating table - up to today however his overtures have been ignored. In a press release ETUCE calls the situation 'serious and unsustainable' and asserts that the right to strike is one of the most fundamental human rights.

Meanwhile the IMF and the World Bank are heavily involved in directing policy in the country. In a recent press release the IMF commended the government's efforts to 'advance their structural reform agenda' and urged them to alleviate 'long-standing impediments to private sector activity.'

With the support of ETUCE, the strike of the Macedonian teachers is still ongoing despite threats and strike breaking.