• October 12, 2015
  • 270

Tomaszewski: AWPL supports planned protest

Capital’s local government gave permission to organise a demonstration outside the Lithuanian government’s headquarter (Kudirki Square) in Vilnius on 16th October at 15:30. Protest ‘Against unfair educational and social policy’ is being set up by organisations which gather minority schools’ parents. 2 thousands people are to take place in the demonstration,including representatives of Union Labour, but only some of them will join the protest: Lithuanian Union Labour Confederatoon annouced that its members will not be joining.

‘Few hundred schools have been shut down in the past decade. It raises anxiety among parents and students. Teachers are losing their jobs, their profession loses its prestige, is not as appreciated anymore. Kindergarten teachers’ social situation is disastrous. (…) New Labour Code prepared by the government is seen by workers as another restriction on the guaranteed social rights, which is inconsistent with opre-election promises and government’s program. New social policy has not been agreed, nor discussed with all involved parties. Moreover, government not only does not filfil the promises regarding education and health care, but also does not secure minorities’ rights’ – wrote organisers of the demonstration, which will take place in Vilnius on 16th October.

Danuta Norbut, representative of Polish Schools’ Parental Forum, has officially submitted a request to organise the demonstration. Waldemar Tomaszewski, President of Electoral Campaign of Poles in Lithuania, MEP, and MP Wanda Krawczonok have informed during the press conference on Monday, that AWPL endorses organisers postulates and will be joining the demonstration. Tomaszewski thinks that current coalition does not fulfil election promises regarding granting rights to minorities, social policy and returning lands to rightful owners. As an example he mentioned the promise of adopting the minorities law, settling the issue of using bilingual naming in places inhabited by minorities and spelling of non-Lithuanian surnames. ‘4 thousands of people in Vilnius have still not regained their lands. Ruling majority have not done anything to settle this process and rejects AWPL’s recommendadions, which are aimed to speed up and finish the process of returning the lands. I spoke to the Prime Minister about returning the lands to rightful owners in Vismaliukai. Instead of returning the lands, government wants to claim this area as national, what means that owners will not regain their lands. – said Waldemar Tomaszewski.

AWPL President said that his party supports Union Labour, which organised a demonstration in September against planned changes in Labour Code.
Meanwhile, the biggest Unionists organisations do not want to support ‘Polish’ postulates. Artūras Černiauskas, President of Lithuanian Union Labour Confederation thinks
That the closer to Parliamentary election, the more similar protests will take place. ‘I think that besides AWPL, different organisations will start taking part. It has happened in the past that protests were organised to change social policy, to try and show that these protests can affect the process of policy development. No one wants to take part in such ‘fight’ but everyone is willing to take the credit’ – said Černiauskas. He also mentioned that his organisation will not take part in the demonstration on 16th October.

Lithuanian Union Labour Confederation organised the protest, which took place in September. ‘We are currently negotiating. Firstly, we need to finish negotiations, and then we can decide what will happen next. After our demonstration, government’s and scientists’ (authors of the new model of social policy) position has changed. At first Labour Code was more liberal, but now it has a defined social meaning. When we finish planning everything, we will decide whether it suits us’ – the President of one of the biggest Lithuanian Unionists’ organisation added. 
Audrius Jurgelevičius, President of Educational Union Labour, who previously has spoken during protests organised by minorities, is not going to join the demonstration this time. Jurgelevičius confirmed that his organisation has received organisers invitation but did not accept it: ‘ We assume that educational matters are only and umbrella, under which other issues will be settled’. Main focus in being put on few schools, which do not find the reorganisation terms suitable’.

Based on: BNS, lzinios.lt

Translated by Karolina Jarmużewska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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