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  • An elementary student watch on television a class in Coimbra, Portugal

    An elementary student watch on television a class in Coimbra, Portugal | Photo: EFE/EPA/ Paulo Novais

Published 5 August 2020
Opinion

The government's decision not to renew their contracts poses a big risk for schools as the upcoming academic year approaches.

Political forces in Portugal condemned the government's decision to dismiss over 1000 public school workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) said in a statement that the dismissal of about a thousand workers a month and a half before the opening of the academic year is "incomprehensible" and "unacceptable."

According to the PCP and The National Federation of Unions of Workers in Public and Social Functions (FNSTFPS), the government, which on April denied this would happen, is now letting workers with fixed-term employment contracts signed in 2017 go.

The government's decision not to renew their contracts poses a significant risk for schools as the upcoming academic year approaches. On July 23, the Portuguese education union, the National Federation of Teachers, urged the government to consider the already tricky situation they were in as their workload has soared due to the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Question from the PCP or Government about an unacceptable promotion or dismissal of about a thousand public school workers who should have been integrated long ago and who now see their contracts expired."

Moreover, the teachers union warned that students with special educational needs were suffering even more discrimination, and their difficulties had increased as they did not have adequate support from schools.

On the other hand, the PCP argues that there have been a lack of political will inside the government to address the issue and claims that the Ministry of Education knew that in August 2020, the contract terms would expire and have done nothing to change it. 

Nevertheless, the FNSTFPS remarks that there is still a time-lapse for the government to act until August 31, the deadline of the contracts.

"The path is to reinforce the number of workers with a stable bond in the Public School and that the resolution of the present case must pass through the regularization of the bonds of these workers in the shortest possible time and, before the beginning of the next school year," the PCP demanded.

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