Teachers' Strike in the Maldives
Children in the Maldives after the Tsunami
Teachers in the South Asian Republic of the Maldives went on strike last week to demand that the salary structure agreed in 2006 be paid.
The capital of the Maldives, Male was the worst affected by the strike with half the teachers on strike although many of the islands which make up the republic were also affected.
The teachers' original demand was for a doubling of their salaries, which presently stand at $329 per month basic pay. However in view of the shortfall in the public finances of $180 million the teachers are only asking that previous pay agreements be honoured.
The long standing President - Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is facing opponents for the first time in a presidential election this October. The government has a history of cracking down on democratic campaigns, however after many years of protest there is going to be a new constituion which will include the right to strike.
The Maldives is a potentially rich country - a popular tourist destination and rich in fish however under pressure from world financial institutions much of its wealth has been opened up to foreign contractors and the people live in comparative poverty. The Maldives was also badly hit by the Tsunami and is highly vulnerable to climate change.