A teachers strike left classrooms such as this one in the southern city of Sidon empty
Secondary teachers across Lebanon went on strike Tuesday and threatened to take escalatory steps in April and May that could jeopardize the fate of the academic year if their demands were
Full-time secondary public school teachers held a one-day strike, while contract secondary public school teachers participated in the first day of their two-day strike.
Among the major demands of full-time secondary teachers is that Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi forward to the Cabinet a new salary scale for the public sector, a step which is necessary for them to receive a salary raise that the government introduced in January.
In return for taking on more teaching hours, teachers were given a raise.
Since 1966, salaries have been 60 percent higher than public sector employees and teachers are objecting to leaked details of the new scale suggesting that this margin would be scrapped.
The administrative committee of the Secondary Teachers Association called upon its councils across the country to convene before Easter “to discuss and approve a gradual escalatory campaign.”
The committee said in a statement that future action would take the form of strikes, sit-ins and demonstrations in April and May. It also warned that teachers could protest by leaving official exams uncorrected.
The delay in responding to the demands, it continued, proved the government’s indifference toward the concerns of secondary teachers.
As for contract secondary teachers, they oppose a draft law being studied by parliamentary committees to hold open examinations to fill vacant posts in public schools. They argue that the examinations should be restricted to contract teachers, many of whom have been working for more than 10 years.
They are also demanding a transportation allowance and to be enroled in the National Social Security Fund, along with a raise in their hourly wage.
Hamza Mansour, the head of the committee of contract secondary public school teachers, stressed in a statement that contract teachers were on a two-day strike, calling on teachers and students to stay home from school Wednesday.
Nehme Mahfoud, the head of the Association of the Private Schools Teachers, told The Daily Star that his association would meet with STA officials Wednesday to discuss the next steps of the campaign.