The reasons behind teachers' strike in Palestine
Latest days, students in Palestine are in the streets after teachers' decision to continue their strike against government, teachers' union have been accused of collusion with government and many parties in the Palestinian community warn of the problem.
Governmental schools in Palestine are empty of students after the teachers' decision to continue their strike action as a step against government and Teachers union which is a part of Palestine liberation organization .Although, the bigger loser from this action is the student especially who is in the secondary level because of the importance of this stage in his or her academic or vocational future.
Palestinian Teachers demands their rights that are stated in the agreement between the ministry of education and Teachers union in September 5, 2013. Government agree to pay a Premium of 10% for the nature of the work but it unfortunately divided it to 5% twice and the second 5% has been divided to 2.5% and the second 2.5% is not paid until now. Moreover, Teachers demands the recognition of education as a profession in civil service law and adjusting Palestinian retirement law to suit their living and their families, adjusting high cost of living percentage to suit rising prices gripping the country, pay the actual costs of transportation incurred by teachers when going to their schools and secure a university education for their children.
Firstly, Teachers union announce the strike after the forth daily lesson after the government's lack of commitment in implementing the agreement, The strike only lasts one day as Mr.Ahmad Sehweel the president of the teachers' union announce the end of the strike after the agreement with government to pay the last 2.5% in the beginning of the next April or May,2016. But the union failed to convince the teachers to back to their schools as a result of their sense of the loss of their rights.so they refused to follow union decisions and they announce the comprehensive strike form themselves, demands the departure of Sehweel.In addition, the secretary of the union in Nablus Mr.Isam Dababsa said “ the strike begin individually but after government’s lack of commitment , we all had to join the strike to protest against the government policies toward teachers” and he demands the departure of Sehweel who doesn’t Defend the rights of teachers.
Sehweel accused "Hamas" movement and its supporters from teachers of trying to control the Union and the Ministry of Education, he said in an Interview with the voice of Palestine radio, "If we need the truth, representatives of “Hamas” in the education sector, including the president pointed out in a closed meeting with us that they want to end the crisis and teachers union refuse”.
Sehweel also said that the leaders of "Hamas" through their representative Mr.Farahat Asaad threatened him from attack on the union presidency exploiting the teachers demand for social dignity; if the Union does not sack the sub-committees and hold elections based on quotas between "Fateh" and "Hamas" . Sehweel confirm that rights of teachers are fair and legitimate and the Union is committed to achieve their rights preventing "Hamas" from exploiting the situation for political agendas.
In another context Dababsa said “Security forces began a campaign of arrests of some teachers and we don’t know the reasons behind that, is it because of the strike or any other reasons?”. He refuse this action if it is based on preventing teachers from demanding their rights and said “there are no political agendas behind the strike”. He also confirmed that some of the lawyers are ready to defend detainees from teachers because of their strike.
Foundation of "Right" issued a warning about daily events successive due to the strike, it confirms receiving of reports about Arrests of some teachers and called for respecting the right of strike that is stated in the Palestinian basic law and international human rights agreements that Palestine join recently, the arrest of union reasons is considered arbitrary detention and the government is forced to respond to teachers demands.
Institutions of civil society have met in Nablus to discuss the current issues in Palestine, and one of the outcomes of the meeting is the rejection of the asserts of some teachers done by the security forces and considered it a violation of freedom and opinion expression through union activities that are stated in the Palestinian basic Law . The participants demand the immediate release of the detainees, and confirm the teacher’s rights to express their opinion through peaceful ways as strike. The participants also, calling for serious steps that would protect students and ensure their rights to learn.
The ministry of education expresses its concern about students if strike continues. The minister of education Dr.Sabri Saidam announce that the loss of education sector is 120,000 lessons every day, and issued a warning of Semester delay decision and expect the extension of secondary-level exams period to the late of July, 2016.
Saidam also confirmed on his proud of teachers and the important role they play in the country. And he praised the achievement of Miss.Hanan Al-Hroub who are one of the best 10-teachers in the world. He also said “The ministry of education is making efforts to respond to teachers rights and achieve their social dignity.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Iam Nidal Dannoon, 22 years old, from Palestinian territories, BA degree in Accounting minor Business Administration from Bethlehem University, founder of Weather Palestine 24 which cover weather and other news in Palestine.