third-party mediators

Teachers threaten strike over salary deadlock

"We have a teaching crisis" (July 31)
4:02 min

Salary negotiations between Swedish teachers and their employers have ground to such a halt that third-party mediators have been called in to help, reports the TT news agency.

"Going on strike will be necessary to voice our discontent if we don't find a solution during the mediation," warns Teacher Union head Eva-Lis Sirén.

Metta Fjelkner, head of the Teachers Association, which also organises teachers in Sweden, does not rule out a strike but hopes negotions will be fruitful.

The two teachers unions represent 200,000 members and in January asked for a montly salary increase of US$ 1,500.

Far too high, responded the national coordinating body for Sweden's municipalites who run the schools.

"It contravenes our goal that teachers indivdually negotiate their salaries at local level," head negotiator Ingela Gardner Sundström says.

A salary increase that was lower than the unions' demand but higher than the national average was suggested to the unions who declined.

They say low salaries make teaching an unattractive profession and lowers educational standards in Sweden.

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