North Macedonia: Teachers strike as power, food prices soar

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. open-ended / ˈoʊ pənˈɛn dɪd / (adj.) – not having a decided time, date, or way to end something, such as an activity or discussion

    The discussion on the new policies is open-ended. The management didn’t set any deadlines for it.

  2. cost of living / kɒst ʌv ˈlɪvɪŋ / (n.) – the amount of money that a person needs to be able to pay for basic things like food, housing, etc.

    The high cost of living in the city makes me want to move back to my hometown in the suburbs.

  3. union / ˈyun yən / (n.) – an organization formed by workers to protect their rights as employees

    We formed a nurses’ union to raise our concerns about working long hours and being underpaid.

  4. discontent / ˌdɪs kənˈtɛnt / (n.) – a feeling a person has when he or she is not satisfied or happy about something

    Some customers expressed their discontent after experiencing bad service in our restaurants.

  5. compromise / ˈkɒm prəˌmaɪz / (n.) – a way to reach an agreement where a person or an organization offers something or gives up something to resolve a problem or an issue

    My teammate and I reached a compromise to fix our work schedule. We decided to take turns in working on Saturdays.


Read the text below.

State kindergarten and primary school teachers in North Macedonia began an open-ended strike Monday, seeking substantial pay rises amid a cost-of-living crisis.

The teachers’ union is pressing the government for annual salary increases over the next two years which would roughly take their average monthly salary from 400 euros now to about 700 euros ($436 to 760) in 2024.

The center-left government has ruled out any new salary increase for teachers this year. It has already increased the minimum monthly salary in the country from 247 to 292 euros, in a bid to ease discontent over high living costs triggered by a sharp hike in energy and food prices.

Annual inflation in the small Balkan country of about 1.8 million increased for the ninth straight month in March to reach a 14-year high of 8.8%, from 7.6% in February.

Education Minister Jeton Shaqiri called on the teachers’ union to join in urgent talks to seek a compromise.

Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski called on strikers “to put first the interests of children and make sure that the educational process is not disrupted.”

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Teachers in North Macedonia are protesting for substantial pay rises because of the increasing cost of living in their country. What do you think would happen if teachers continue to have unsatisfactory pay? Discuss.
  • Aside from their salary, what sort of benefits should schools and governments provide for teachers (ex. paying for their graduate/post-graduate studies)? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The prime minister called on teachers to make sure that the educational process is not disrupted by their protests. Do you agree with the teachers’ decision to go on protest even if this might disrupt the educational process? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Unions are organizations in the workplace that help employees fight for their rights for good working conditions and pay. However, unions sometimes clash with the management on certain issues. Do you think joining a union is a good thing? Why or why not? Discuss.