Jordanians back teachers' demand for higher salaries: survey

Jordanians back teachers' demand for higher salaries: survey
2 min read
26 September, 2019
The teachers' demands of a 50 percent wage increase to boost their meagre salaries received the backing of over 60 per cent of those surveyed.
Teachers claimed the pay rises were promised by the previous government five years ago [AFP]
A teachers' strike over low salaries has received the public's support, despite inconveniences caused by the three-week long action, a survey reported by Jordan Times on Wednesday has showed.

The teachers' demands of a 50 percent wage increase to boost their meagre salaries received the backing of over 60 per cent of those surveyed.

More than 100,000 public school teachers have been striking in Jordan since September 8, over promises made by the government, which agreed on the wage increase in 2014.

"I can't get married because the salary is so low," said a 30-year-old geography teacher, who still lives with his family, told Al Jazeera

Most teachers have been forced to take on multiple jobs on the side of their classroom hours to make ends meet.

"I have been teaching for 10 years but I only earn 420 Jordanian dinars ($592) a month. Our salaries are among the lowest in the public sector," a maths teacher told Al Jazeera.

The Jordan Teachers Association slammed the government's last week over "vague" promises, and demanded an apology over alleged harrassements faced by the protesters their sit-in strike on September 5. 

The Public Security Department denied the allegations but said 50 teachers were detained for "illegally forcing their way through to the government's headquarters" during their protest. 

As the third week of strikes nears its end, negotiations between the teachers' union and the Jordanian government have failed to reach a solution. 

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said that the strike reflects the economic hardship that is affecting the entire country.

"The government is patient in regards to dialogue for a solution, however, the suspension of students' studies holds everyone responsible - both the government and the Jordan Teachers Association's (JTA) council," Razzaz said, reminding the teachers of "a sense of responsibility" which should stop them from prolonging the strike. 

Teachers are still arriving at work for their normal hours, but refusing to teach, in the hopes of having their demands for a 50 per cent salary increase heard. 

Government officials stated this amount could not fit into the state budget, as it would cost $158m. 

Teachers claimed the pay rises were promised by the previous government five years ago.

This claim is contested by present government officials who have recently pledged to improve working conditions and salaries by the beginning of 2020.

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