In a series of parliamentary hearings on the precarious situation of education support personnel in Portugal, launched today, 9 March 2017, FNE demands the legal recognition of non-teaching employee’s profiles, the creation of career paths for non-teaching employees and the launch of negotiations with the Ministry of Education to that effect.

In Portugal, there are three categories of education support personnel: so-called operational assistants, technical assistants and higher technicians. As education support personnel are not legally bound in their affiliation to the education sector, the education trade union is fighting for the legal recognition of the profession in the education sector.

The hearings follow the nationwide strike of 3 February 2017 that ETUCE member organisation FNE had organised together with the Federation of Public Administration Unions (FESAP). More than 90 % of Portuguese education support personnel had demonstrated for better working conditions and the recognition of non-teaching professions in education and to protest against the neglect of the Ministry of Education to launch the negotiation process.

João Dias da Silva, FNE General Secretary explained that FNE had wished to send the Ministry of Education the message, that “the lack of recognition of the education support personnel, unacceptably low salaries and precarious working conditions, alongside the lack of access to quality continuous professional development lead to demotivation of education support personnel and, consequently, jeopardise the delivery of quality education”.

Together, FNE and FESAP collected 6,000 signatures for a petition to open the negotiation process with the Ministry of Education and handed the petition to the Vice-President of the Assembly of the Republic, Teresa Caseiro, on 16 February 2017.