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25.11.2011

No money to pay teachers’ salaries – because of Euro 2012?

   

 

Ukrainian teachers are complaining of being forced to take unpaid leave and having supplementary payments cancelled. Analysts believe that there isn’t enough money in the Ukrainian state coffers to cover social payments because of problems with the IMF.

There are reports from various regions that schools and universities are forcing educational staff to take unpaid leave.  The teachers largely avoid giving their names through fear of being dismissed. “We were told to write an application for unpaid leave for several days, yet we worked during that time. They promised to give us a day off during the holdings” a teacher from Poltava School No. 6 who didn’t want to be named explained. She said that all additional lessons and standing in for other teachers are not paid. The same situation is seen in Poltava School No. 33.

The teachers say that approaches to the City Department of Education are met with the explanation that there is no money in the budget to pay them, and therefore they have to take leave without pay. Teachers on Internet forums speak of such cases in the Crimea, the Mykolaiv, Zaporizhya, Ternopil and Donetsk regions. On Monday lecturers and other staff from the East Ukrainian National University turned to the media asking for help in upholding their right to their lawfully earned pay, as they were being forced to write applications for leave without pay over the New Year – Christmas holiday.  They don’t protest for fear of dismissal. The Education Ministry says it has not received such complaints, and says it will react if it gets them.

Football or teachers?

Maxim Boroda, Senior Analyst from the International Centre for Policy Studies points to a lack of funds due to the rejection of cooperation with the IMF. This means that social programmes and benefits are paid on the basis of what is left over. He says that there is no real money and that the profit from privatization was less than the government was counting on. The year is coming to an end and there is still nowhere to transfer the budget deficit. He adds that the government doesn’t know where to get the money to pay social obligations since those clauses in the budget, according to the law, should be financed first.

This is the reason for the machinations, as ways of bypassing the law. He is convinced that the non-payment of teachers’ salaries is linked with Euro 2012. For the authorities, being ready for the soccer championship is priority since success with that will have impact on the autumn parliamentary elections. He says that the teachers’ problems are “not particularly pressing” and that that find some way of softening them up just before the elections.

Slightly abridged from the report at http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0, , 15547263, 00.html

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