Czechia prepares for largest school strike since revolution: Impact on families, commuters expected

Over 2,000 schools and kindergartens are set to close or be seriously disrupted next Monday. Here’s everything you need to know.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 23.11.2023 12:04:00 (updated on 23.11.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Staff in over half of all state primary and secondary schools across Czechia are set to go on a day-long strike on Monday, Nov. 27, which will result in hundreds of closures and altered school timetables. This is expected to be the biggest walkout in the educational sector since 1990. Here are all the details.

Which schools are affected?

Thousands of children and their parents are confused as to whether their school will actually close – or drastically alter their timetables – on Monday. While some schools have sent out e-mails and letters in advance warning pupils and parents of any planned walkouts, others have yet to announce whether anything will happen.

Some schools will close entirely, and others will have half-days and changed lesson plans, operating in a limited capacity.

The Teachers' Platform Association has published a frequently updated map of primary, secondary, and kindergarten schools from all over the Czech Republic that want to join the strike. According to the association’s chairwoman Petra Mazancová, over 2,000 schools will join the strike, and the vast majority of kindergarteners will also close.

Some regions in Czechia’s capital – such as Prague 4 – have published an official list of schools that will close or open.

Will time off to take care of kids be compensated?

Unfortunately not. According to the Czech law on nursing allowance, payment is only given to parents taking care of children as a result of unforeseen or emergency events (such as natural disasters). As the strike has been planned for weeks, no such compensation can be given, the Czech Social Security Administration says.

Are there other restrictions the public should be aware of?

Even if you have no kids to look after, the strike action could still affect you. As teachers and school unions – along with other industrial groups – are set to attend demonstrations across the center of Prague on Monday, it is likely that tram services and traffic will be disrupted. It is unclear as to how many people will attend the protests, but estimates are in the hundreds.

No route diversions have yet been announced, but Prague Deputy Mayor for Transport Zdeněk Hřib advised members of the public to check the Prague Public Transport Company website for the latest updates.

How can parents support the strike?

Parents in support of striking teaching staff can sign a petition that calls for increased pay for teachers as well as support staff.

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The Chamber of Pedagogy has encouraged parents to join teachers and other unionists at planned demonstrations at Malostranské náměstí, Jungmannovo náměstí, and náměstí Jana Palacha on Monday afternoon. Full details of Monday’s events can be found on the Czech Moravian Trade Union of Education Workers website

Why is the strike happening?

Teachers in Czechia are dissatisfied with low pay, earning around CZK 36,000 monthly, below the national average. In 2022, salaries for all school staff (including principals and administrators) saw minimal growth, averaging CZK 48,200, worsened by underfunding in the education sector. Support staff, like cooks and janitors, also express discontent, facing potential wage cuts of 2 percent in the 2024 education budget. Concerns arise about the impact on services like school meals.

What is the government doing?

Despite discussions between the Ministry of Education and school unions, the strike remains unresolved. Prime Minister Petr Fiala deemed the strike "unfounded," citing the government's intention to raise teachers' pay to 130 percent of the average salary by 2024. Minister of Education Mikuláš Bek anticipates a budget of CZK 269 billion for the Education Ministry next year, nearly CZK 4 billion higher than the current year.

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