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French teachers strike in Paris over government's response to COVID-19

Teachers protest in Paris 26 January 2021
Teachers protest in Paris 26 January 2021 Copyright Euronews owned
Copyright Euronews owned
By Anelise Borges
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Teachers complain of working conditions, low pay, and a bungled pandemic response.

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Teachers, students, and school nurses protested in Paris on Tuesday over the French government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in schools and calling for better working conditions, higher pay, and an increase to the 2021 education budget.

Protestors on the streets of Paris told Euronews that they wanted to illustrate the fact that if they are not able to do their jobs properly, the very future of Franc is at stake.

“The message we want to convey today is ‘stop disrespecting education... stop disrespecting teachers and the rest of the personnel’," Jules Siran from Sud Education Teacher’s Union said. 

“Because today the salaries are just not enough, because today the staff have had enough of reforms that continue to degrade their working conditions and they have had enough of this erratic management of the public health crisis where they are always the last ones to be informed. It’s unacceptable.”

Benoit Teste from the FSU teacher’s union added that teachers will be a major part of the healing process after the pandemic. 

“This public health crisis is everyone’s problem. We have to deal with it," he said. 

"We’re in need of more staff and more resources. [...] We will be asked to repair society in a way. We will have students who have fallen behind, who will have experienced difficult things. And education will have a major stake in all this.”

French University students were also present at the march. They have been protesting for weeks to draw attention to the effects the pandemic has had on them. Many say they are suffering financially and psychologically while falling behind in their studies and are demanding a return to the lecture hall.

The French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to make an announcement on the evening of 27 January. The French public is bracing for the announcement of a third national lockdown, though that has yet to be confirmed.

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