RAMALLAH: Teachers in Palestine are on strike, calling for an increase in their salaries due to escalating inflation, and have rejected a deal by the government, saying it did not do them justice.
The Teachers’ Movement, a union that ensures teachers’ rights are met, organized a sit-in in front of the Council of Ministers in conjunction with the weekly government session to confirm the continuation of the strike until their demands are met.
On Monday, Palestinian security forces deployed barriers at the entrances to cities and governorates to contain the strike in Ramallah.
Farid Al-Atrash, director of the Independent Commission for Human Rights in the southern West Bank, said authorities forced teachers from Bethlehem and Hebron to get off their vehicles at a checkpoint in the town of Al-Ubaidiya, preventing them from joining the protest.
The Teachers’ Movement confirmed its rejection of an agreement with the government, accusing the latter of reneging on its promises. During the past month, the movement organized a sit-in and mass rallies in Ramallah and other cities in the West Bank to insist its demands are met.
Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said on Monday: “A few days ago, we signed agreements with the unions…The teachers were demanding that the bonus be fixed on the salary slip, and the Council of Ministers agreed to that, and even went further by paying 5 percent of it on the current month’s salary and fixing the remaining 10 percent on the salary slip.”
Shtayyeh said the Council of Ministers presented reasonable terms, but there were teachers who still refused to resume work. He added that the strike was harming the future of Palestinian children and urged teachers to return to work immediately.
Ammar Dweik, director-general of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, based in Ramallah, told Arab News that although the Palestinian government is struggling financially, it offered teachers a reasonable response. Dweik said he is also against setting up barriers to prevent teachers from reaching the protest sites.
Ahmad Al-Tardi, an Arabic language teacher at a high school in Hebron, told Arab News that economic conditions for teachers have become challenging, especially with Ramadan approaching. He said that the teachers are determined to continue striking until all their demands are met.
Arab News could not reach a government spokesperson or the Cabinet secretary-general for a comment on the matter.