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Jordan teachers' strike suspended under government pressure, but fresh industrial action looms

The teachers are protesting for a wage increase [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 October, 2019

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More than 100,000 teachers have taken part in the four-week, nationwide strike in Jordan.
The Jordanian Teachers' Association (JTA) has suspended its nationwide strike after four weeks, the group said on Thursday.

The move comes just two days after the ministry of education told teachers to return to school or face deductions from the salaries for every day of strike action.

More than 100,000 teachers across the country have been on strike since 8 September, demanding a 50 percent pay rise.

The JTA said on Thursday that its strike was temporarily suspended, but that the government could expect further strike action next week if the teachers' demands are not met by Saturday evening.

The Jordanian government has piled immense pressure on the striking teachers over the past weeks in an attempt to put an end to the strike action.

The JTA has faced two seperate court orders demanding teachers go back to work.

Its members refused to comply, with the Ministry of Education instead employing substitute teachers to see classes resume.

Government officials have stated the demanded 50 percent pay rise cannot be met by the state budget, as it would cost around $158 million. 

But the JTA says the pay rises were promised to teachers by the previous government five years ago.

While this is contested by present government officials, they have recently pledged to improve working conditions and salaries by the beginning of 2020.

Union spokesman Nour al-Din Nadim said on Thursday that the JTA would comply with the latest court order, but would resume strike action next week if its demands remain unmet, according to Al-Ghad.

More than 60 percent of Jordanians support the teachers' demands, according to a report by The Jordan Times published this week.

Jordan is one of the most expensive countries in the region, but wages remain low despite rising living costs.

The minimum wage is just $310 a month.

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