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Austrian Teachers To Join Strike Tuesday
Newswires, May 12, 2003
Schoolteachers planned a one-day strike for Tuesday to protest against
proposed reforms to state pension
benefits and the school curriculum.
The action is part of a wider labor protest against the pension
reforms that began a week ago when the largest strike in decades brought
much of the country's transport to a halt.
Tuesday's strike action has been called by the Austrian
Federation of Labor to oppose the reforms that labor leaders claim will
cut pension benefits by
more than 30% in some cases.
The teachers' strike - that will hit state schools, as
well as vocational ones - is also being called to protest against the
streamlining of curriculums in some classes.
The federation plans to block streets in downtown Vienna
late afternoon Tuesday, ahead of labor demonstrations at the capital's two
major railroad stations.
President Thomas Klestil had a series of separate
meetings with leaders of parliamentary parties on Monday, preparing for a
round-table discussion under his chairmanship in an apparent effort to
reduce tensions over the disputed pension
The government of Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, chairman
of the center-right Austrian People's Party, and Vice Chancellor Herbert
Haupt, the leader of the rightist Freedom Party, is pressing parliament to
approve the plans on June 4.
But opposition within Haupt's party, including resistance from former leader Joerg Haider, has prompted the vice chancellor to ask the president for mediation.