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Dialogue between teachers, government resumes — so does strike

Second meeting scheduled for today after both sides report ‘positive indications’

By JT - Sep 18,2019 - Last updated at Sep 18,2019

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz speaks to the press on Wednesday after attending part of a meeting betweern the Jordan Teachers Association and a ministerial team over ending teachers' two-week strike (Petra photo)

AMMAN — Talks resumed on Wednesday between teachers and the government over ending the formers’ strike after a week of deadlock, and although both sides expressed “positive indications”, the Jordan Teachers Association (JTA) announced that the strike is ongoing until a final agreement on their demand of a 50-per cent raise.

In a gesture of goodwill, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz made an appearance at the meeting between representatives from the JTA council and the ministerial team tasked with following up on the two-week strike, after the syndicate refused to meet with the team for the past week, demanding talks with the PM.

In press remarks following the talks, Minister of Education and Higher Education Walid Maani said that the discussions were “amicable” and addressed a number of unresolved issues regarding the conditions of teachers and the JTA’s strike. 

For his part, JTA Vice President Naser Nawasrah, said in a statement on the syndicate’s official social media accounts that the talks were held to “break the ice”, noting that a second meeting will be held on  Thursday at 3:00pm to continue the negotiations.

Both sides said they agreed during the meeting on two pillars for the negotiations: The need to improve the living conditions of teachers and to develop the educational process, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

Razzaz told the press after he attended part of the meeting that the talks were “important, positive and constructive”, in view of all parties’ commitment to dialogue, according to Petra. 

 “The best interests of students have always been and will remain at the core of the association’s concerns,” Ghaleb Abu Qudeis, a JTA council member said, adding that the strike will continue until a final agreement has been reached. 

The council member said the government showed “positivity” during the meeting, expressing hopes for a resolution that satisfies teachers during tomorrow’s meeting. 

“Teachers are the only ones who can compensate students,” Abu Qudeis said in response to a question on undermining the best interests of students.

He voiced expectations Thursday’s talks would lead to a resolution to end the strike if the demands of teachers are met, most notably the request for a 50-per cent pay rise.

Nawasrah said that the suspension of the strike hinges on the government “recognising teachers’ right to the 50-per cent pay rise”, which teachers say was promised since 2014 but never materialised.

The government has previously said that it is committed to an agreement signed with the previous council that ties pay rises to teachers’ performance, under which raises can reach up to 250 per cent.

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