In the last ten years, the number of children enrolled in nursery schools in Slovenia increased by almost 50 %, from 58,127 children in 2006 -2007 to 85,407 children in 2015-2016. In the school year 2015-2016, 10,901 education staff were employed in nursery schools, including 5,174 teachers and 5,727 teacher assistants. For many years, the Education, Science and Culture Trade Union of Slovenia (ESTUS), ETUCE’s member organisation in Slovenia, has consistently pointed out and appealed to the Slovenian government and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport that the situation of teacher assistants has been deteriorating.

Several times, the Government has been recognising teacher assistants’ low salary as well as through the various arrangements and agreements between ESTUS and the Government itself.

Nevertheless, the situation has worsened. With no change in their salaries, teacher assistants’ working hours have been increased, obligations have been multiplied and responsibilities have become greater. According to ESTUS, for instance, a teacher assistant in pre-school education and with 10 years’ experience earns about € 600,00 per month.

Dissatisfied with the situation, following many unsuccessful attempts to make the Government and relevant Ministries listen to the voice of teacher assistants and guarantee decent pay and working conditions for their work , ESTUS called for a protest action in front of the Government headquarters in Ljubljana on 29 September 2016. 2,500 teacher assistants from across Slovenia gathered. With this protest action, having waited for 8 years, ESTUS called the Slovenian government to immediate negotiations to find a prompt response and solution to this situation.

ETUCE strongly supports the teacher assistants in Slovenia in their demand for better working conditions and a comprehensive solution to the current unacceptable Slovenian pay system in education and regarding teacher assistants.

ETUCE calls on the Slovenian government and the relevant Ministries to listen to the voice of education employees and to fulfil the government’s commitment to guarantee quality education based on decent working conditions of those providing education in pre-schools and other education institutions.