The employers meet again with the counselor Campuzano, after the mediation of José María Albarracín
For the third consecutive day since the course began, and it will not be the last, hundreds of students were left on the ground yesterday and without school transportation to get to their schools. The same will happen today, since the employers’ association Froet insisted yesterday afternoon that the strikes, which do not affect all routes, will continue during the day, when thousands of students from Lorca, a municipality that, Due to its geographic size, it is highly dependent on school transport.
While hundreds of families and students will continue to pay the broken plates of the conflict today, the opposing parties, the Ministry of Education and the Regional Federation of Organizations and Transport Companies of Murcia (Froet), will hold the umpteenth meeting to try to bring positions closer. Meanwhile, some fifteen companies still do not provide the service (which is being carried out on many other routes), and although Education has tried to supply it by hiring other companies on the emergency route, hundreds of families are still without transportation.
The mediation, yesterday, of the president of the Regional Confederation of Business Organizations of the Region of Murcia (Croem, in which Froet is grouped), José María Albarracín, opened a way of dialogue that could be the first step to a solution that, at the moment, it is outlined diffuse.
This morning the schoolchildren from Lorca, a municipality very dependent on the service due to its geographical breadth, join the classes
Reproaches and accusations
Albarracín met with the Minister of Education, María Isabel Campuzano, and both analyzed the situation and defended their positions. After the meeting, Albarracín conveyed the content of the meeting to the Froet associates, and, according to sources from both sectors, the two employers will meet again today with the counselor to address the situation. Thus, the representatives of Froet, will return to sit at the table with Campuzano, after days of crossing reproaches and serious accusations, but this time they will do so with the mediation of Albarracín. A starting point that, until yesterday, seemed impossible.
The exit positions, meanwhile, are clear: Education defends that companies have in force the contract that obliges them to provide the school transport service even though the Ministry has not accepted “a new three-year extension to an outdated and obsolete contract unlawful and abusive. ‘
For its part, in Froet, which yesterday insisted that companies that do not provide service will continue without doing so, they understand that “they cannot work without a contract, which is necessary in order to request the special authorization for school transport.” This refusal will continue until the companies receive the contracts, so “it is up to the Ministry to put an end to this completely anomalous situation and only attributable to the management of the department headed by María Isabel Campuzano.” The school transport companies insist that the only contract that the Ministry can offer based on the 2009 framework agreement is an extension for three years, which is the “legal option that is included in the current specifications governing the hiring of the public school transport service ».
The companies also denounce that they have not received compensation for the months that, during the pandemic, they stopped receiving income.
Until now, the Ministry has not been able to fully restore the service by hiring other companies, and in some cases it has turned to companies from other communities. However, there are still hundreds of students who do not have transportation covered. Education, which requested precautionary measures from the Prosecutor’s Office, is also studying to denounce what it considers “allegedly criminal and extortionist practices that some contracted companies have had to suffer”, that “when providing the service they have been attacked, even with the breakdown of glass on some coaches. ‘ Education also confirmed yesterday that the fifteen companies that have stopped providing the service these days have their contract terminated at least until December.
Although Campuzano yesterday conveyed to Albarracín his “concern” about the damage caused to the families who use the school routes, the truth is that the parents focused their outrage at the regional administration, since they understand that it is the Ministry of Education that has the Obligation to guarantee service, “essential to realize the basic right of students to education.”
The transport employer denied “responsibility for any act of vandalism that was allegedly committed,” and asked the State Security Forces and Bodies to investigate “to the last consequences if any occurred.” In addition, he denounced that cases have been detected among the companies hired urgently that are refusing to subrogate the workers of the provisionally suspended concessionaire, “despite the fact that the collective agreement includes it.”
Parents threaten to resort to legal proceedings as well
“It is affecting families, but especially children, who are being deprived of their right to education. The Ministry has abandoned them because it is not allowing them to go to schools. This was denounced yesterday by the president of the Federation of Associations of Parents and Mothers of Students (FAPA) Juan González, Marisa Maldonado, who does not rule out resorting to the courts if the conflict is not resolved this week. “We want the Ministry – they demanded yesterday – to do its job and solve the problem.”
The serious setbacks that families are assuming these days were reported yesterday by three mothers affected by the conflict. Like Juana Mari, from Archena and mother of three children, who has been “arriving late for work all week, and one day they will stop allowing it”, to bring her children to the center. Marga, mother of two children, has to take one of them to the Micaela Sanz de Archena school, while the second studies in another center. “It is becoming very difficult for us. It is very strong that there are children who cannot go to school. We need it to be solved now. Mari Carmen, mother of another student from the El Romeral school in Molina de Segura, denounced that “transportation is a basic service, and we have been waiting for a solution for two months.”