Teachers who were appointed by the Palestinian Authority between 2006 and 2008 have had their salaries suspended by the government led by Salam Fayyad in Ramallah. Calling for “fairness” in salary payments, a committee formed by the teachers held a protest meeting with the Committee for Democrat Teachers in the Gaza Strip on 18th July. Various associations and teachers’ committees were represented at the meeting, along with many of the teachers whose pay has been put on hold who have been on strike in protest at the Fayyad government’s action. Such collective action is claimed as a right by the strikers.
Teachers participating in the sit-in demanded that the government in Gaza allows the striking teachers to return to their schools. They also urged human rights institutions to take immediate action and defend the teachers whose wages are suspended as part of the siege imposed on the Palestinian people.
In his speech on behalf of the Democrat Teachers, Bassam Alghalez saluted those colleagues whose salaries are being withheld for their “steadfastness and determination to reclaim their employment rights, get their salaries and return to work”. He noted that this problem “has caused dozens of teachers to live in tragic and precarious circumstances and in the light of the continued lack of reconciliation, the unjust embargo and soaring prices”.
Mr. Alghalez called upon the General Union of Palestinian Teachers, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, Salam Fayyad, and Dr. Lamis El-Alami, the Minister of Education, to complete the necessary procedures to give full recognition to the teachers who were engaged from 2006-2008 so that they have their full employment rights.
The Committees demanded that the teachers be excluded from any relevant political discussion on this matter so that the education system is not politicised.
Speaking on behalf of the striking teachers, Ms. Ibtsam Marzouk praised the active role played by the Committee of Democrat Teachers and the General Union of Teachers “in working hard to solve the problems of more than 230 teachers (out of a total of 411), calling for pressure to end the problem without discrimination and the elimination of political debate from the educational process.”
Ms. Marzouk appealed to the decision-makers in the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Palestinian factions to accelerate the process to find a solution to this problem.