|Company:||The Polish Teachers’ Union (ZNP)|
The salaries of Polish teachers are among the lowest in Europe. The April pay rises will not change this
Poland is far behind in terms of teacher salaries not only in comparison to affluent European countries but also to our closest neighbours. The pay rises introduced in April will not change the situation. More than 99 percent of teachers will receive an average pay rise of 5.35 percent, i.e. from PLN 95 to 168 depending on their professional rank. In annual terms, the rise will amount to 3.75 percent, which, adjusting for inflation, is 1.45 percent. This is a much lower growth rate than that recorded for wages and salaries in the economy as a whole,” ZNP’s President Sławomir Broniarz emphasised.
“In terms of teacher salaries, we rank in the lower medium range. We are far behind Luxembourg and Finland. Slovenia and the Czech Republic also have a higher remuneration level. As compared to other EU countries, we rank among the lowest. We surpass Bulgaria, but this is no reason for satisfaction. “Our average pay specified in the Regulation of the Minister of National Education is also considerably lower than the average national pay,” Sławomir Broniarz, President of the Polish Teachers’ Union, told the Newseria Biznes agency.
The “Education at a Glance 2017” report shows that the salaries of Polish teachers are among the lowest in Europe. Although in 2007-2012 they rose by a total of 44 percent (6 pay rises), no further adjustments were made until 2017. In 2017 the indexation amounted to 1.3 percent. In April 2018 teachers’ salaries are to grow again by 5.35 percent, but in annual terms the rise will be at 3.75 percent, and adjusting for inflation (estimated in the Budget Act at 2.3 percent) the rise in real terms will amount to 1.45 percent.
“While in the last two months the wage and salary growth rate was around 8 percent, we are offered 3.7 percent in annual terms, and the inflation factor should be considered as well. Teachers are stating clearly that they expect more. “When we hear that there is enough money in the State budget to give awards to ministers, each worth several dozen thousand zlotys, and that on the national scale we are spending millions on various benefits for these people, and Prime Minister Beata Szydło says they deserved it, I want to say that all teachers deserve to earn more,” Sławomir Broniarz emphasised.
Currently the average basic pay is slightly over PLN 2,300. From 1 April the basic salaries of teachers with a Master’s degree and teaching credentials increased, respectively, by PLN 123 for trainee teachers, by PLN 126 for contract teachers, by PLN 143 for nominated teachers and by PLN 168 for certified teachers. Much higher pay rises, up to 22 percent (PLN 344-493) can be expected by teachers who completed a post-secondary vocational school for teachers, a post-secondary vocational school of preschool education, a post-secondary vocational school of early primary education and a post-secondary technical school for teachers. However, such a rise concerns only 3,700, i.e. 0.6 percent of teachers.
“Teachers with the highest professional rank, certified teachers, after the rise will earn PLN 3317 gross, so their salary will increase by PLN 168. Minister Anna Zalewska uses average values resulting from the Teacher’s Charter, but the teachers who receive such amounts constitute a small group. “Hence the entry in the Teacher’s Charter on the so-called supplements, but for every employee the contracted amount is the most important, which is the value of their basic salary,” ZNP's President pointed out.
Despite the pay rises for some teachers the changes may even decrease their earnings, as some of the social supplements included in the Teacher’s Charter, such as the housing supplement (used by one third of teachers), the relocation allowance, the right to residential premises, the right to a plot of land and the right to live in buildings owned or used by schools.
“In the case of a contract teacher, who, starting from 1 April, will receive a pay rise of PLN 126 and lose the housing supplement amounting to PLN 150, their total pay will decrease by PLN 24,” Broniarz explained.
Pay rises for teachers are going to cost more than PLN 1.1 bn, but the Association of Polish Counties has already warned that the counties will not be able to pay PLN 600 m out of this amount. There may be not enough money for the pay rises despite the fact that the changes introduced by the Ministry of Education in theory should allow their payment. According to the Ministry's calculations, restrictions imposed on the health leave this year alone were to generate savings of PLN 68 m. Further savings were generated with the earnings of teachers who lost their jobs as a result of the education reform (6,600 people) – up to PLN 250 m, with the extension of the career path from 10 to 15 years – PLN 590 m in 2022 and up to PLN 1 bn a year later.
“It is impossible to carry out a pay rise without increasing expenditures on education. UNESCO suggests 4 percent GDP, while for Poland this is 2.21 percent. “It is impossible to increase teachers’ pay speaking only about the basic pay and leaving the rest to local governments, because apart from teacher’s salaries, they now have to deal with the earnings of the healthcare personnel,” ZNP’s President emphasised.
The issue of teachers’ pay rises was one of the reasons for the Polish Teachers’ Union to file a motion to dismiss the Minister of Education Anna Zalewska. In addition to the pauperisation of the community, they based the motion on the disorganised preparation of the reform, the discontinuation of certain supplements and social benefits as well as the concession for the voluntary service of teachers.
“This is the first Minister of National Education with a clearly anti-teacher attitude, expressed not only in her words but also in her actions,” Sławomir Broniarz concluded.
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