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A two-day strike in January by two key sectors of Catalan society: health and education. That is what lies ahead in the New Year after Catalan teachers unions decided to resume its protests and called two strike days, for Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th January, 2023 in primary and secondary schools in Catalonia. The dates of the industrial action coincide with those of another strike, that called by doctors and health personnel in all health centres in Catalonia, in a protest that has the support of all health professions. The educational community thus resumes the protests it staged at the beginning of this year after not having reached any agreement with the Catalan education ministry. Both sides have been negotiating for weeks on how to reverse the education cutbacks from years ago, whose solution was left out of the agreement reached on September 1st, just before the start of the 2022-2023 school year. 

The spokeswoman for the Ustec union, Iolanda Segura, remarked that education and health are two pillars in which the Catalan government should invest, and stated that setting coinciding dates responds to the need for a "defence of public services". The spokesperson criticizes the Generalitat for failing to make a "priority" of education and those who work in the sector. 


Union demands

The teachers' unions and the ministry agreed on September 1st to negotiate on the questions of reversing the cutbacks made in previous years. Over the last quarter of this year, negotiation meetings were held, but no agreement was reached and that has led the union to take strike action. The ministry offered the unions a reversal of the cuts in seniority supplements that were made in 2012, but the measure did not convince the teachers, who presented a counter-proposal, over which they say they have not received an answer. 

Another of the union demands is the withdrawal of the earlier start to the school year that began this September because "it has been a confusion" and "it makes no sense to shorten summer holidays with the high school temperatures", according to Andreu Mumbrú, who called to "reserve the month of July for teacher training and the first days of September to organize the year ahead". The union also demands a stability pact for temporary staff based on restricted tendering of jobs, a two-hour reduction in teaching hours for teachers over 50, and other measures.

Medical sector to strike on same days 

Earlier, Catalan medical personnel finally opted to take action in pursuit of their claims on salaries and conditions, after weeks of threatened strike action. On the same day as Spanish health minister, Manel Balcells, announced the signing of the Siscat agreement for the public health sector which he defined as a "before and after" for salary improvements for doctors, the Doctors' Union in Catalonia has officially called the strike it had already scheduled for January 25th and 26th. In fact, the doctors announced their action a month ago and acted after seeing no movement on the part of the ministry to negotiate the salary and conditions improvements they claim.