"Only the teachers took the Government seriously in this legislature," says Mário Nogueira – O Jornal Económico

"The teachers, I would say, were the only ones who took the Government seriously. Sometimes people may not realize it, "Mário Nogueira, secretary general of the National Federation of Teachers (Fenprof), told Lusa.

In an interview with Lusa, Fenprof's secretary-general, who is preparing to be elected for the last time to the position, anticipates the Friday and Saturday congress, where the teachers, meeting in Lisbon, will make an evaluation of the legislature and to define the next steps of a struggle that they have not yet taken for granted: the full count of the nine years, four months and two days of frozen service time.

Mário Nogueira said that only the teachers led the Government to put the possibility of dismissal, "a Government that did not resign with misfortunes that happened during four years", but that admitted to do it if the time of service of the teachers was everything counted.

The union leader pointed to pressures on the part of the Government, but also "the scraps" of the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) throughout the negotiation process of the time of service to affirm that "the opponent is very strong".

"This is not what makes us discourage, on the contrary, it has to give us more strength. If the opponent is very strong, let's take vitamins, "he said.

Mário Nogueira understands that the Ministry of Education is at present "an inexistence", the institutional relationship "is practically nil" and the minister of tutelage, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, "was essentially a representative of Finance in Education."

In relation to the executive, Fenprof's secretary general understands that the legislature served to "isolate the government" in the question of length of service, since all parties were in favor of full counting – even after the parliament denied this goal – and it will be already at this congress that teachers begin to define the continuity of the struggle, which, taking into account the latest polls, may have the same interlocutors and a different correction of forces in the parliament, with the PS closest to absolute majority.

"Polls are polls. We will see. I think it will be very far from the absolute majority, "said Mário Nogueira, who questioned whether an absolute majority of the PS would be the worst that could happen to teachers replied that" it would always be bad an absolute majority of whoever it was, PS or PSD ".

The leader of Fenprof understands that after the PS has put the last European elections as a moment of evaluation to the Government the Socialists do not have much to celebrate.

"I do not know if the PS had a victory, because for a party that wants to have an absolute majority and ends up with 33%, let's face it, it's a bit far from its goal," he said.

Mário Nogueira thinks that the PS has lost the teachers, but admits that it has gained votes from the public "who thought very well what it did" regarding the count of time of service and that motivated a threat of dismissal of the executive.

In relation to the right, he thinks that PSD and CDS-PP lost public opinion by supporting teachers' demands at first, and then lost their teachers as they retreated and it was this "great defeat of the right" that gave the Socialists the victory which left the second most voted party away, but also far from the absolute majority.

The elections had a "sui generis" protest of the teachers at the polls, according to Mário Nogueira, who was surprised, since there was no campaign or appeals in this sense and because he understands that this is not "the solution".

"Surprisingly, we came to know that in the recent elections to the European Parliament across the country there are thousands of votes annulled with" nine, four, two. " In almost all polling stations, this was pointed out. There are polling stations where there have been hundreds of votes and there has been no campaign to say "do it like this or do it any other way", because, finally, the cancellation of a vote, this, in our opinion, is never a good thing, well the indignation and revolt of many colleagues who are already about to move to the table to mark this, "nine, four, two," as if to say, 'I demand,' "he said.

As an alert for the elections, he recalled that the PS "already lost an absolute majority in times gone by in 2009, also said by the confrontation he made with teachers," and ensured that teachers will be in the campaign, that " will be a moment "to demand parties' commitments, but avoiding to ask them" very round questions, which then the answers are of no use ".

"We will be asking very concrete questions about very concrete measures that must be taken. We will give teachers the answers that we hope will be clear and unambiguous and objective, "he said, adding that a great national demonstration of teachers continues on the agenda on October 5, the eve of legislative and World Teacher's Day.

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