EXPLAINED: Why are Czech teachers planning a walkout, and will schools close?

Disputes over wages and the 2024 state education budget have precipitated a planned nationwide strike on Nov. 27 in Czech primary and secondary schools.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 08.11.2023 12:08:00 (updated on 11.11.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

School unions representing teachers and other staff in Czechia’s primary and secondary schools, as well as kindergartens, have announced plans for an all-day strike on Monday, Nov. 27. Unions have told the press that strike action was the only means necessary to pressure the government into improving funding and wages for the education sector.

Vice-president of the Czech-Moravian Trade Union of Education Markéta Seidlová warns that, without adequate budgets, many primary and secondary schools will have to reduce teacher numbers starting next year. This could limit course offerings and services for students.

Why are school staff walking out?

It all boils down to pay. Not only are teachers frustrated with their salaries – primary school teachers earn about CZK 36,000 monthly (gross), which is less than the national average wage – but they are also frustrated with how little funding the education sector gets from the state.

Teachers, principals, and administrators across all levels of Czechia’s school system were paid an average gross monthly salary of CZK 48,200 in 2022 – a rise of less than 1 percent year on year.

Other school staff, such as cooks, janitors, and support staff, are also unhappy with their salaries. They criticize the proposed 2024 budget for education, which would in real terms decrease wages for non-teaching employees by 2 percent.

"If we can't find money for staff and the principal is forced to cut kitchen assistants’ pay, who will cook in school kitchens and what quality of food will the children have?” asked Seidlová.

Will schools close?

The planned teachers' strike is expected to significantly impact school operations across the Czech Republic on Nov. 27. While individual schools may be affected differently depending on staff participation levels during the strike, most are bracing for disruptions. Kindergartens have signaled strong support for the walkout, indicating widespread closures.

If the majority of staff at a school goes on strike, the principal will likely be forced to close the entire school for the day. If only some staff take part in the demonstration, schools will likely need to enlist substitute teachers for cover. 

Schools have said they will communicate with parents in the coming two weeks to provide all information necessary on whether they operate normally on Nov. 27. Unions have also promised to inform the public and parents on why the strike is necessary, and whether future walkouts will follow (organizers are calling the walkout a “warning strike” – more walkouts could follow if the government does not increase staff pay).

What is the government's response?

Amid a shortage of school teachers in Czechia, Education Minister Mikuláš Bek wants to avoid as much disruption as possible.

He emphasized that the 2024 education budget allocates more money year on year – to the tune of CZK 4 billion extra – and promises that the government will stick to its previous plan of paying teachers at least 130 percent of Czechia’s average monthly wage. He has committed to further discussions with union representatives to help call off the strike.

Minister of Labor Marian Jurečka has said that he does not understand the reasons for the strike – given the government’s intention to increase the education budget – and has named the strike unnecessary.


  • Zuzana Růžičková (Seznam Médium): Růžičková, a journalist with a focus on education, says: “The fact that teachers' salaries are slowly sliding down is of course the state’s fault. We will have to wait and see how unions and the government agree.” She notes that negotiations are often down to the final minute, increasing uncertainty on whether the Nov. 27 strike will go ahead. She also refers to a similar 2019 protest, which she believes helped cause a substantial pay rise for teachers in 2020.
  • Radek Štěpán (ePeníze.cz): Štěpán, a teacher writing for Peníze.cz, says: “The strike will not solve anything at all. The Education Ministry simply won't get the money [to pay teachers] and there is no near-term chance that teachers will get their ‘guaranteed’ salary increase.” He also commented that, with its funding cuts in the last decade, the government has forced schools to lay teachers off.
Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more