Portuguese teachers strike over austerity plans

Portuguese teachers strike over austerity plans, leaving students unable to sit exams

Associated Press

LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- Thousands of Portuguese students have missed mandatory end-of-year exams because of a 24-hour strike by teachers opposing government plans to extend their working week and reduce staff numbers.

Many teachers stayed away from work Monday, leaving nobody to monitor national exams at some schools. Most of the country's education system is state-run.

Education Minister Nuno Crato announced a July rescheduling for those who missed their exams.

The government wants state employees to work 40 hours a week instead of the current 35. It also intends to cut pension entitlements and reduce the state payroll, though it hasn't said how many jobs will go.

The measures are part of public spending cuts being introduced in return for a 78 billion euros ($104 billion) bailout Portugal received in 2011.

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