Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 6 June 2020

Jordan's teachers call short-term halt to strike

Jordanian union said stopwork action in public schools would be halted until Saturday

Jordanian government school teachers shout slogans during a gathering outside the Jordanian syndicates building in Amman, Jordan. EPA
Jordanian government school teachers shout slogans during a gathering outside the Jordanian syndicates building in Amman, Jordan. EPA

The Jordanian Teachers’ Syndicate has announced a temporary suspension of its public school strike until Saturday, pending talks with the government.

After an emergency meeting on Thursday afternoon, the syndicate said any further action would be announced for Sunday if the government did not respond to its demands.

The protests have continued for a fourth week, despite Jordan's Supreme Administrative Court ordering the union to end the protests immediately on Wednesday.

On Sunday a judicial ruling was issued stating that the action was unlawful because it interfered with pupils’ constitutional right to an education.

Signatories from 45 Jordanian civil groups, political parties and labour unions signed a statement in support of the strike on Tuesday.

Muntaha Rababah, 40, a mother and science laboratory technician at a school in Irbid, 90 kilometres north of Amman, said the decision to halt action was wise.

“The ball is now in the government’s court,” Ms Rababah told The National.

She said she took part to fight for a better future for the young generation and criticised the government for its handling of the situation.

“My country deserves the best," Ms Rababah said. "We love it and it’s our duty to make it the best place for the next generation.

“We ought to be working together in unison, the teachers, government and public, but the government has undermined that and handled the situation in the worst way possible.

"We are not opposing them, we are simply seeking our rights.”

Local news channel Roya published a video of parents protesting against the strike to its Instagram page this week, but has since removed it.

Ms Rababah said parents of pupils at her school remained supportive, even providing coffee and food for teachers.

Abdullah Alqaraleh, 31, a physics teacher at a school in the western city of Kerak, said parents had been supportive.

“The parents have given us their full support, even refraining from bringing the children into school so that we are not under pressure to teach them,” Mr Alqaraleh said.

He said he stood with the union whatever its decision was but would prefer to resume teaching as soon as possible.

“I think ending the strike would be a good gesture by the union to enable further negotiations with the government,” Mr Alqaraleh said.

“The teaching profession is a sublime profession. Many students have graduated as a result of our work.

"Today we see them working as doctors and engineers. It is a profession to be proud of."

The Ministry of Education said teachers would be docked 15 Jordanian dinars (Dh78) from their wages for each day they did not teach, local media reported.

But teachers who spoke to The National said they believed this would be unlawful and were not concerned by the threat.

The union came under fire on Thursday after Roya accused teachers rallying in central Amman of assaulting its employees.

The syndicate condemned the claimed attack, stressing that “any individual actions do not represent the union”.

Updated: October 4, 2019 02:47 AM



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