Tunisian teachers will organize a warning strike next October
The General Union of Tunisian Workers has declared that it will be organising a general strike in various primary schools on October 4. In a telegram sent on Sunday, which was addressed to the Education
Minister, Dr. Abdul Latif Obaid, the Syndicat Général de l'Enseignement de Base (SGEB) of the General Union of Tunisian Workers emphasised that the strike is retaliation to the lack of response from the Ministry of Education to the demands of the Tunisian teachers.
Taher Dhaker, the Secretary General of SGEB, told Arabstoday that the body had previously attempted a number of different approaches. Firstly, they organised protests by teachers such as the one that occurred on September 5 and 6 in front of the headquarters of the Ministry of Education, in an attempt to make the officials face their responsibilities.
Dhaker added that, a week ago, the teachers had tried to start the new school year successfully. This was in spite of the shortage of teachers in various primary schools, an issue which has yet to be fully rectified, and the continuous maintenance and construction that disrupts the activity within the schools.
He also articulated how the teachers’ demands that were not heard by the Ministry of Education and how they had not responded to numerous phone calls, despite agreements that took place earlier, in particular the one of June 15 on which they teachers absolutely insist on.
The first demand is an increase in the grant awarded at the beginning of each school year. Meanwhile, the second is the amendment to Chapter 35 of the Directive Law, which will allow primary schools to enjoy financial independence, helping them to meet the requirements in terms of infrastructure and equipment.
Dhaker also explained that the SGEB is demanding a reduction in teachers’ working hours, before adding that the Ministry of Education decided to deduct three days from the salaries of the teachers who participated in the strike in May. This is one of the key points of dispute with the Ministry of Education and SGEB demanded the Ministry of Education revoke the decision which Dhaker described as "political" and without any legal basis. He assured us that the dialogue will continue between SGEB and the Ministry of Education.
Meanwhile, Dr. Abdul Latif Obaid countered by saying that the Ministry’s decision to deduct the pay from the teachers’ salaries after the strike is a routine procedure. He stated that it has been in place in Tunisia for years and does not specifically target teachers.