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Jordan: Teachers protest to urge government to implement agreed pay rises

July 23, 2020 at 11:04 am

Thousands of Jordanian teachers gather near government headquarters, during a protest in Amman, Jordan on 5 September 2019 [Laith Joneidi / Anadolu Agency]

Almost 2,000 Jordanian teachers protested yesterday to demand the government abide by the agreement signed between the two parties in October 2019.

The march, which was organised by a number of teachers via social media, started in front of Mohammed Al-Fateh Mosque and headed to the headquarters of their union in the capital, Amman.

The Anadolu Agency correspondent reported that the march was led by members of the teacher’s union council, and its Vice President, Nasser Al-Nawasrah.

The teachers held banners that read: “The Teachers Union Council is a red line”, “The bonus [an increase in salary] is a right that cannot be relinquished” and “Stop underestimating our rights”.

Union spokesman Noureddine Nadim told Anadolu Agency: “These teachers came to demand the implementation of their agreement with the government that the Jordanian people witnessed.”

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He accused the government of “denying the agreement due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent financial crisis.”

Addressing the crowd, Al-Nawasrah said: “The agreement was signed in October 2019, and today it is broken … The bonus constitutes only a clause in it and talking about the salary increase as a prerequisite is aimed at distorting the truth only.”

The crisis between teachers and the government broke out on 5 September, after security forces used force to disperse a protest staged by teachers in the capital, Amman, to demand pay increases.

At that time, dozens of teachers were arrested, and the crisis escalated quickly. Protesters then launched a strike that lasted a month.

In an effort to end the civil action, in October the government signed an agreement with the teachers’ union, which included salary increases, however teachers maintain the terms of the pact have not been honoured to date.

The union says it had reached an agreement with the government in 2014 regarding a 50 per cent increase in basic salaries, but this has yet to be implemented.