The Viennese private kindergartens were closed on Tuesday today. At a rally in the Votive Park, smaller groups, more staff, paid preparation time and equal wages in municipal and private institutions were called for.
It was a colorful and loud protest: Employees of the Viennese private kindergartens held company meetings on Tuesday, 5,000 of them took to the streets at a rally in the Votivpark for better framework conditions and more staff. The motto: “Enough”. The private kindergartens are therefore closed today (with the exception of the company kindergartens) until 12.30pm, and protests by the municipal kindergartens have been announced for Thursday.
In the morning, the meadow in front of the Votive Church was teeming with orange safety vests, many with the words “Enough”. The entire pedagogical range was used on banners and posters, from positive reinforcement (“Thank you for being together”) to severity (“No more fun”) to gallows humor (“If my caregivers are burned out, will you buy me new ones?”). There was also variety in the acoustic accompaniment: with a concert of whistles and horns, rattles and rattles, the employees of the private kindergartens – from the SP-related child friends to children in Vienna (KIWI) to the St. Nikolaus Foundation – joined in the GPA union for their demands.
“No more good aunts”
“This is a historic moment, the good aunts are over,” said speaker Karin Wilfingseder from the gpa union into the crowd. For the first time, the private kindergartens hold company meetings during working hours, and they can no longer be divided along the lines of the supporting organizations. Works meetings in the public area had already been planned for 2020, and the pandemic ultimately prevented that. “And again politics has let us down.”
It is only thanks to the current alliances and the mobilization that a renegotiation of the 15a agreements with the federal states on kindergartens was announced last week, and yesterday, Monday, the City of Vienna doubled the number of assistant hours in kindergarten groups from currently 20 to 40 Hours from September 2022. But that is not enough, “we still have a lot of potential for escalation”. These works meetings are “only interrupted”, it was emphasized. The protest continues.
For years, elementary educational institutions have been complaining about difficult framework conditions. And that, as the speakers emphasized at the demonstration, nationwide, even if the kindergartens are a state matter and the regulations accordingly differ from state to state.
Lots of demands
The tenor: The groups are too large and there are too few educators per child to not only supervise the children, but actually to accompany them in their educational processes. In Vienna there is also a lack of paid preparation time for teachers. There are too few staff, which is why a training offensive is required. In addition, employees in Vienna earn significantly less in private kindergartens than in urban kindergartens; according to KIWI, the difference in the starting salary is just under 400 euros.
The day after tomorrow the protests will continue: For this day, the employees of the municipal kindergartens have announced a demonstration on Minoritenplatz – but the kindergartens will remain open.