Egyptian Teachers on Strike this Weekend
Teachers in Egypt are on strike for the third day to press their demands for a properly funded education system
Teachers all over Egypt are on strike demanding smaller class sizes, more money for education and decent salaries. They are also demanding the resignation of the education minister who was a senior figure in the old Mubarak administration. The following is from the website menasolidarity.com:
' A striking teacher from Fayyum in the video above says “I have been working for 28 years as a teacher, and I earn less than 1000 Egyptian pounds a month. The Education ministry is stuffed full of consultants on huge salaries and teachers get nothing. It is not right that there are people earning 100,000 Egyptian pounds while teachers are paid so little.”
'The strike has been organised by grassroots teachers’ organisations, particularly the new independent teachers’ unions which have been organising local strikes for months. Other demands include an increase in the state education budget to at least 6.5% of GDP, a school-building programme and a reduction in class sizes to no more than 30 children (60+ is common, and class sizes can reach up to 120).
'Reports just in Monday 19 September included details of a solidarity protest by school students in Mahalla al-Kubra, with students chanting ‘the teachers want the downfall of the minister’, 11 schools shut down in Wadi al-Gadid, 49 in Aswan, 16 in Luxor, 29 in Minya, 26 in Sohag, and all schools shut in Minufiyya governorate. These are figures gathered by activists on the ground, rather than a complete picture, but they give a sense of how wide the geographical spread of action is across the country.' (To view the video go to: http://menasolidaritynetwork.com/2011/09/19/egypt-teachers-strike-enters-third-day-with-strong-support/
Doctors are also on strike calling for an increase in the health budget from 3.5% to 15% of GDP, as are transportation workers, sugar refinery workers and some factory workers. Although there are reports that teachers in some areas have been threatened with arrest, police vehicles have been stationed outside schools and in some cases parents have been incited to attack teachers , the strike is solid with over 60% of teachers heeding the call - so clearly these tactics are not working.
Please send messages of solidarity to:
Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions at firstname.lastname@example.org