Many schools across Macedonia didn’t open this morning, on the first day of school, because of the strike called for by the SONK teachers’ union.

The union demands a pay rise of 25 percent, citing the equivalent increase in the minimum wage, while the Government is only prepared to give a 5 percent rise. Teachers were reportedly under pressure from the ruling parties, mayors and school principals to show up this morning, so in many schools striking teachers are showing up to work, to avoid reprisals, but are not holding classes.

The SONK union instructed teachers to set aside one room in the school where all the teachers will gather and stay there, refusing to enter the classrooms. This left parents confused over whether to drop off their kids, or not.

Some schools had signs inviting the first graders only, for the usual ceremony held to mark their first day at school. It’s expected that classes will be held in earnest on Tuesday.