Morocco's contractual teachers protest trial of colleagues
Moroccan contractual teachers held a national strike on Thursday, calling for 13 of their colleagues on trial after protesting last year to be acquitted.
Public school teachers in Morocco are usually hired by the country's education ministry, but more than 50,000 public school teachers in Morocco have instead signed contracts with regional academies, with which they are granted lower pensions and less job security.
With the unemployment rate in Morocco currently standing at 12.7 percent, the teachers say they had no alternative but to sign these temporary contracts.
Contractual teachers have been protesting their precarious working conditions for more than four years, demanding permanent jobs and better civil service benefits.
Some of the teachers on strike Thursday travelled to the capital Rabat to support their colleagues, on trial for gathering without a permit, violating the state of health emergency, and insulting security forces in protests last year.
Authorities stopped many teachers from entering the court for not having the vaccine pass, before adjourning the trial until 3 February, a source from the striking teachers' committee told The New Arab.
Teachers are being hit with financial penalties for "practicing their constitutional right to strike", the source said.
"The teachers' 5,000 MAD ($543) is reduced by 700-1,500 MAD for every strike and protest we hold,” they added.
Before being elected in October, Morocco’s new prime minister Aziz Akhannouch promised to prioritise education reforms.
Despite numerous meetings with the contractual teachers, Akhannouch’s cabinet has yet to resolve the stalemate.
Contractual teachers are expected to start a week-long national strike starting on 17 January, paralysing Moroccan public schools as other staff and students prepare for final and regional exams.