French teacher unions’ calls second major strike in COVID ‘chaos’

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French teachers’ unions called a second major strike on Monday (17 January 2022), protesting against the government’s protocols of COVID testing and isolation, which they claimed are rigorously disrupting the classes.

They said it has become unmanageable with the spread of contagious Omicron coronavirus variant, and parents are also struggling by standing in long lines outside pharmacies to get vaccination appointments for their children.

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In revert, the government promised to provide five million high-grade FFP2 facemasks and hire more than 3,000 substitute teachers for school staff who are in isolation after contracting COVID or coming into contact with an infected person. But that was not enough for the unions, who said Thursday’s new strike would precede a “massive” nationwide walk-out on January 27.

“Beyond the promises made by the PM Jean Castex and the Minister of Education as a result of tackling this health crisis, strong measures needed,” a group of four unions said in a statement signed by FCPE, France’s biggest parents’ federation.

They demanded the French government recruit enough substitutes to replace absent teachers as Covid cases spread adversely throughout the schools in France.

Children who test COVID positive for the virus have to stay home for ten days, while their classmates suggested doing three tests in four days.

Teachers also want more personal safety equipment “well than the promised amount ” and more fundamental investment in the French education system. The numerous teacher lags behind in many other European countries.

Although the Ministry of Education stated that around 40 percent of France’s primary school teachers had participated in the school walk-out, the French press described the strike as “historic”, “massive”, and “closely followed”.

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Sophie Vénétitay, the spokeswoman for the secondary school union, welcomed the measures driven by the government. She realized they were listening and willing to explain certain things to protestors. The PM has made some promises hope these promises will be fulfilled.

 

 

 

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