EI’s Algerian member, UNPEF, has concluded a national strike in which it was joined by other teachers’ unions in a dispute over pay.
The strike began on 10 October with the unions demanding a 50 per cent pay raise, as well as for the government to step back from its increasing control over schools and the curricula.
This strike action was eventually suspended on 15 October, after a meeting with Ministry officials succeeded in reaching a preliminary framework for agreement.
Unions have given the government until 15 November to conclude the talks and meet their demands in full otherwise the teachers will prepare to resume their strike.
Almost all members of the unions participated in what is considered to be the most important action involving all education sectors. It is the third strike since November 2009 and February 2010, which saw the Ministry of National Education respond positively to the union’s demands.
The UNPEF’s strike succeeded in closing schools across Algeria and was strongly supported by parents. A spokesman for the Association of Schoolchildren’s Parents, Khaled Dhaleb, indicated the teachers’ demands were legitimate and should be met by the president.
Once again, Algerian teachers are at the forefront of a wider national action against government policies which have allowed the gap between rich and poor widen. Doctors and unemployed people have also gone out in the streets to demand better working and living conditions.
Fifty contract teachers who were dismissed when their contracts expired are also on hunger strike outside the Education Ministry in Algiers. They are following the example of colleagues in India, Turkey, and other countries, who are responding to being exploited by fighting back.
EI urges the Government of Algeria to engage in immediate negotiations with education unions to offer educators decent work and living conditions, as well as ensuring that they can focus on providing students with high quality education.