Teachers will be demonsrating en masse in Ankara tomorrow. The teachers, who are members of the union Egitim Sen, are protesting against numerous attacks to their professionalism, their conditions and their salaries. A staggering 200,000 teachers are unemployed in Turkey, while schools are short staffed - a situation which has led to the suicide of 36 unemployed teachers to date. Moreover due to contract changes, many teachers are in precarious posts, liable to be moved or even made redundant at any time.

Performance related pay and tenure has also been introduced for many teachers, meaning that they have to compete with one another. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that teachers are so badly paid that no less than 80% of them have to take a second job in order to survive.

These attacks on teachers' pay and conditions are of course also an attack on education, the failure to employ sufficient teachers for example leads to oversized classes. Moreover teachers engaged in a long struggle for the rights of Kurdish children to be educated in their own language, a struggle which led to the union being outlawed at one point and their leaders arrested. In order to try and crush the legitimate desire of teachers to fight for education, more have been arrested in the last period or are being pursued by the authorities, both for their union activities and for taking part in the recent mass protests which started in Gezi square.

Egitim Sen says in a flyer advertising the protest:

Education and science workers are striving to perform their duties by facing the most challenging conditions in the most distant corners of Turkey. It is possible to see the workers of education in any place where there is life. The challenges the education workers face while performing their duties, mean they are enduring great sacrifices, while their living conditions and professional reputation are constantly degraded. 

Egitim Sen is noticable among teaching unions for the seriousness with which it treats issues of global solidarity. Teachersolidarity is proud to send them solidarity for their mass protests tomorrow.