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Greek School Teachers To Strike When School Starts

ATHENS -Frustrated over falling wages and starting salaries for new teachers of as little as $184 a week – before taxes – Greek school teachers said they would strike the day after the new school year begins on Sept. 11.
For students, the first day of school starts on Sept. 11 with the traditional custom of the Holy Water rite (agiasmos) during which Greek-Orthodox priests bless the students and the staff. The Union of School Teachers said that ceremony will the next day find them walking off the job in protest at ongoing austerity measures and a gathering in front of the Ministry of Education.
Besides low salaries, the teacher’s federation has complained that newly-appointed teachers are often placed on islands and remote areas where they are responsible for their own rent, food, utilities, transportation and other expenses they must pay out of what the union said were “starvation wages.” Members of Parliament, with allowances, earn as much as $10,000 per month. The union will also inform parties and the general public about the economic conditions teachers are facing. Teachers are also protesting the elimination of their free entry to archaeological museums and monuments, a concession given them for low wages and to allow them to have continuing education to develop themselves. The government, which gives Members of Parliament free access to those sites, wants teachers to pay for it.
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