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Polish teachers rally to demand wage hikes

AFP  |  Warsaw 

Several thousand teachers rallied in today demanding wage hikes a week after Poland's right-wing government announced a raft of generous spending measures in other sectors ahead of local elections this fall.

Public sector wages, especially in education and health care, have long been notoriously low in Poland, a 2004 EU member of 38 million people, where the average gross monthly salary is around 5,000 zloty (1,200 euro, USD 1,500).

"We're fed up with the disregard for teachers, we're fed up with pitiful teachers' salaries," Slawomir Broniarz, of the ZNP Polish Teachers' Union, told protesters who blared horns and beat drums in front of the education ministry.

"The says we earn 5,400 zloty, but that is over 2,000 zloty more than most of us actually receive," he said, demanding that each receive a 1,000 zloty wage hike.

The ZNP has rejected assurances by that a series of wage hikes planned over 2018-19 will meet their demands.

"I've worked for 38 years and I take home 2,800 zloty per month," a who identified herself only as told AFP, adding that new teachers net around 1,900 zloty per month.

"Pensions for retired teachers are pitiful. People leaving now get around 1,900 zloty per month but I know teachers who retired eight years ago get 1,200 zloty," she said, adding "how are you supposed to survive on that?"

Facing a sharp slide in popularity ahead of local elections this fall, last week Poland's governing party announced new welfare measures for the elderly and disabled as well as tax cuts for small businesses on top of other benefits it already introduced.

Public sector wage hikes, however, did not appear on their list.

Recent opinion polls have shown that backing for the PiS tumbled by 10 per cent, from around 40 per cent, for the first time since it took office in late 2015 on the heels of a scandal involving generous bonuses for ministers.

that they each received between 15,000 and 19,000 euros (USD 18,300-USD 23,200) on top of their pay last year sparked public outrage, prompting powerful to order them to hand the funds over to charity.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, April 21 2018. 20:50 IST