Teachers On Strike Across the Continent for Better Salaries and Benefits

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) — Hundreds of Moroccan teachers were on strike last month for permanent work contracts when they were attacked by riot police at a recent march while some of their peers received two month prison sentences for demonstrating without authorization.

The jailed teachers were charged with “unauthorized assembly” and “violation of the state of health emergency,” according to the secretary-general of the National Federation of Education, Abderrazzak Drissi.

Some 25 protestors are still being prosecuted, 44 have been jailed for up to three months and fined some 1,000 dirhams ($110) while the teachers’ mobilization continues. There are more than 100,000 “probationary” teachers in Morocco who do not receive benefits or guarantees of permanent jobs.

Teachers have been fighting for employment security and full civil service benefits since 2016 when they began the strikes and walkouts. Their jobs actions were met with water cannons.

The National Coordination of “forcibly contracted teachers,” an umbrella body of teachers working on temporary contracts, has been leading the protests. Other job actions around the continent include Zimbabwe where instructors earn $100 a month. Teacher unions have estimated the number of suspended teachers at 135,000 out of the roughly 140,000 teachers employed there in public schools.

Raymond Majongwe, president of the Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ), warned: “We are not going to back down on our wage and other demands.”

In Cameroon, public school teachers have been on strike for three weeks. Despite the government’s promises to improve salaries and benefits, the promises have not been fulfilled. And in South Sudan, Kordofan, a primary and secondary teachers strike has entered its fifth day of protest. The Sudanese Teachers Committee announced a strike in all states of Sudan starting this week following the failure by the Ministry of Finance to meet the deadline set by the committee in fulfilling teachers’ demands.

Specifically, teachers are owed back-payments from as far back as 2020 and a salary top-up which was meant to come in effect had also not been received, leaving the teachers in a state of complete financial insecurity.

At the same time, professors at the Sudan University of Science and Technology took part in an open strike to protest the refusal of authorities to enact a new salary structure promised by former Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.

Protests are now spreading across in towns and cities for the end to the military junta and a return to civilian government. Protests also erupted as a result of soaring prices for bread and basic commodities, as the Sudanese economy falters in the run-up to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Finally, Nigeria’s Enugu State Government has lost its bid to bar teachers from carrying out strikes over non-payment of the national minimum wage. Justice Oluwakayode Arowosegbe said the state could not stop the teachers from ventilating their grievances through industrial action. [IDN-InDepthNews – 15 March 2022]

Photo: Sudanese teachers gather to protest against curriculum of the ministry of education in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on 6 January 2021. [Mahmoud Hjaj – Anadolu Agency]

IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

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