A Classroom in Guinea-Bissau
Teachers' leaders in Guinea-Bissau have suspended their indefinite strike after what they describe as fruitful negotiations with the government.
The strike which started on June 19th was called to demand the payment of arrears in salary payments, the payment of promised transport allowances and a doubling of teachers' incomes. In addition the union were calling for the government to provide funds for the union as happens in other francophone countries.
Guinea-Bissau is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. It has a massive foreign debt and qualified for debt relief in 2006 under the 'highly indebted poor countries' initiative. At the same time however the World Bank withdrew $10 million which was to have helped rebuild its infrastructure. Life expectancy is 46 and primary school attendance is 42% for boys and 36% for girls. Yet Guinea-Bissau has great potential mineral wealth.
Teachers are not the only public servants in Guinea to have received no pay - soldiers and police have been in the same position.