Protest in Zagreb demanding better working conditions for preschool teachers and workers

Trade Union of Education, Media and Culture (SOMK) – organized a protest in Zagreb on 5 May 2016 to demand better working conditions of preschool/kindergarten teachers and workers, and respect and implementation of the state pedagogical standard/DPS („Daj 5 za DPS“ – High five for state pedagogical standard – was the name of the protest); organize the size of kindergarten groups according to law (currently only 1 teacher with a group of 30 children), urgent adoption of the plan and development of the kindergartens’ network in the City of Zagreb, building new premises; benefits for teachers with special programmes and cancelation of the decision to deprive teachers of food provisions; increased funds for toys and other educational material.
The trade union expected around 200 protestors, but the real number was more than 1,000, with huge media coverage and support of the public.

Although there were also pressures before the protest (organizing work and activities so as to not allow teachers to join the protest, for example), after the protest, a series of pressures were exerted on teachers who joined the demonstrations. The City of Zagreb ordered the principles of kindergartens to force the teachers and workers to sing the lists stating if they joined the protest or not. Especially those employed on fixed-term basis are under pressure, being told they would „bear consequences“ and their contracts would not be renewed. This was a protest action organized outside the working hours, and people joined demonstration on their free time.

The principles of kindergartens now do not allow formation of local unions of SOMK in their kindergartens, nor do they allow them a possibility to present the trade union. These are the pressures to prevent SOMK from bargaining with the City of Zagreb.

SOMK president Ms Božica Žilić, also a vice-president of UATUC, demanded from the City of Zagreb and the principles to immediately stop with such pressures and violations of rights, guaranteed by conventions and the Constitution, and asked for the support to teachers exerted to such pressures.

ITUC supports SOMK in their fight for better working conditions of preschool workers and sent a letter to the mayor of the city of Zagreb demanding to stop actions against the SOMK members.

ITUC support to SOMK
ITUC letter to the Mayor of Zagreb