Month-long strike in Jordan comes to an end after teachers secure pay raise

Month-long strike in Jordan comes to an end after teachers secure pay raise

A raise between 35 and 75 percent has been secured.

October 8th, 9:27 amOctober 8th, 9:27 amMariam Nabbout

A month-long countrywide strike led by Jordan's public school teachers ended with their demands being met earlier this week, The New Arab reported.

Over 100,000 instructors took to the streets for weeks, demanding a 50 percent increase in their salaries, which previously amounted to $565. They did not back down until they saw concrete results.

In a statement made on Sunday, Naser Nawasrah, Vice President of the Jordanian Teachers' Syndicate (JTS), said "that a salary raise between 35 and 75 percent" had been secured. He added that the amounts to be granted are dependent on a teacher's rank.

The salary increase for the lowest rank of teachers does fall short of the 50 percent promised to the profession in 2014. However, educators in higher ranks will witness a pay rise exceeding that.

Nawasrah labeled the agreement reached on the matter with the Jordanian government as "historic." After long days of complex negotiations, 1.42 million students enrolled in Jordan's public schools commenced their academic year.

[Jordan Times]

The riots came to an end just days after the JTA suspended the strike due to government pressure. At the time, the organization's officials threatened to resume "industrial action on Sunday if teachers' demands were not met."

There were many disgruntled parents who sued teachers involved in the strike — one of the longest in the country's history.

However, most people weren't against the educators' demands. In fact, a report published by The Jordan Times earlier this week stated that over 60 percent of Jordanians supported them. That's expected given the low salaries teachers had been receiving for years.

A quick look at how the strike unfolded last month

[Twitter/liferdefempire]

The official strike began days after an initial one took place early in September. During the first strike, protesters dispersed after the Public Security Department (PSD) officers fired tear gas at them and arrested a number of them.

At the time, Nawasrah spoke on behalf of angered members saying that teachers will not enter classrooms until those responsible for attacking them are held accountable. The PSD responded in a statement explaining that their personnel had practiced restraint, however, they "were driven to the use of force by some protesters who were shoving their way to reach the Fourth Circle [in Amman]."

The country's Prime Minister Omar Razzaz continuously attempted to put a halt to the protests by hinting at possible legal implications that may befall the JTS. However, this didn't stop teachers from going forward with their strike.

This eventually led the government to host several negotiation meetings with JTS officials.

The agreement prior to the strikes was that teachers would get raises based on merits and improved performances, which could result in a 250 percent raise for every educator, instead of just 50 percent.

At the time, Nawasrah, countered this settlement, noting: "If they can make money available based on merit, then the excuse that there is no money is rejected."

Because the country's 2019 budget couldn't bear a 112-billion-dinar ($158 million) dent required to cover the costs of a 50 percent raise, the government had to devise another plan. To reach consensus and keep the budget from going under, Wajih Oweis, former education minister, suggested a five-year-plan during which teachers would get a 10 percent raise each year. However, this was also rejected by both protestors and JTS officials including Nawasrah who spoke against it in an interview with Radio-Al-Balad.

"Why should we agree to compromises that have not been offered to us? No government official or minister has contacted us directly with any numbers," he said at the time.

Nawasrah and the teachers' diligence have now succeeded in securing their right to better pay.

Original Article