Mutah University employees on Monday embarked on a protest calling on the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to “save” the university from a “financial crisis”. The protesting employees, who were refusing to work and preventing students from entering the university’s campus, said they would continue their strike until the ministry meets their demands. “The ministry officials are not listening to us. We informed them of our demands eight months ago, but have not received any response,” Hekmat Qatawneh, a representative of the employees, told The Jordan Times yesterday. “Our main priority is to save the university, which has a budget deficit,” he said. “We also want Parliament to endorse the unified payroll system for employees of the Kingdom’s universities... We will not allow students to attend their classes until we hear from the ministry,” he stressed. Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Rowaida Maaitah was not available for comment despite several attempts by The Jordan Times to contact her. But Mutah University President Abdul Rahim Hnaiti told The Jordan Times that the administration met with the protesting employees and “listed their demands related to improving their salaries and having a unified payroll, in order to send a letter with these demands to the ministry”. He noted that the university’s budget deficit for this year is JD17 million, and it cannot even pay its employees’ salaries until the end of the year. “The annual salaries of employees are JD37 million, and our revenues will only reach JD26 million,” Hnaiti told The Jordan Times over the phone yesterday. In the meantime, the president said, the administration is trying to convince the protesters to allow students to enter the university, which is located in Karak, some 130 kilometres south of Amman.