Dear Budapest! We are still fed up! – a few hundred students protested in downtown Budapest
January 27. 2023. – 09:54 AM
"Dear Budapest! We are still fed up! – A protest for education", students of Eötvös József Gimnázium joined forces with students of other reputable Budapest high schools to stage a demonstration on Friday morning at the busy Astoria intersection in downtown Budapest.
The event took place between 7.30-8.00 am, with students carrying a large banner with their handprints on it and the slogan well-known from the protests, "We stand with our teachers". The students chanted "Silence is not order" and "Free country, free education". According to our correspondent, the students stayed on the corners of the square the entire time, so the traffic was not obstructed. A few hundred people attended the event.
Anna Strbka, the main organiser of the demonstration, told us that
the next important event will be the sit-in next Tuesday, January 31st.
The date of the event is probably not a coincidence: the unions have called a week-long national teachers' strike which began on Monday, the 23rd, because they still haven't been able to negotiate about their demands in a meaningful way.
The first strike talks this year were held on Thursday with Zoltán Maruzsa, the State Secretary for Public Education, where the main topics were wages and the introduction of a new performance evaluation system.
"The government has not responded to any of the strike demands."
- Erzsébet Nagy, a member of the national executive committee of the Democratic Trade Union of Teachers (PDSZ), said at a press conference after Thursday's strike talks.
The government is still making the sector's pay raise conditional on the arrival of EU funds, but these have not been delivered yet. Hungarian teachers are fighting for other things besides money, such as a reduction in their workload and the restoration of their right to strike.
For 31 January, the last day of the week-long strike, PDSZ has announced a day of solidarity. For this day, the United Student Front is organising a nationwide sit-in in schools. The choice of date is no coincidence: it is the one-year anniversary of the two-hour warning strike which teachers called in 2022 to draw attention to the problems of public education.
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