Spanish schools hit by strike over staffing cuts
MADRID (AP) — Thousands of public school teachers went on strike Tuesday in Madrid to protest staff cuts as anger over government austerity measures spread to Spain’s education system.
The work stoppage in some 300 schools for youths ranging in age from 12 to 18 is to last at least two days and perhaps three. Teachers elsewhere in the country also plan strikes or protests this month against budget cuts. Elementary schools were not affected.
Teachers say education should be spared as Spain tightens its belt to resurrect its economy, allay fears it might need an international bailout and reinvent itself for the future with a modern, educated workforce after the collapse of an economy fueled largely by a real estate bubble.
“We are on strike to improve state education. It is not true that we are on strike because we have to work more. The timetable is the same as we had last year. What we want is better conditions for public teaching,” Pilar Hortal, a 57-year-old English teacher standing at a picket line in Madrid, told The Associated Press.
The teachers’ branch of the UGT union said 65 percent of the teachers in Madrid were honoring the strike and up to 85 percent in outlying areas.