By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli and Tunis, 17 October 2017:
Striking teachers show no sign of calling off their industrial action despite assurances by the Presidency Council’s (PC) education minister that his promised bonus will be implemented, as well as the health insurance and school security they are demanding.
The strike, now almost a month old, has prevented the start of the new school year. Term was due to begin last month but was postponed until 1 October and then again to yesterday.
Education minister Osman Abdel Jalil’s offer on a complicated series of tiered bonuses, is still being rejected. The teachers are demanding a minimum across -the-board 100 percent salary increase.
Protest continue across the country. In one of the most recent, in Bani Walid, the local teachers’ union held a well-attended meeting there yesterday where it was agreed industrial action would continue. There was even a proposal that some of the protesters would go on hunger strike until the profession’s demands are met.
Teachers have agued that improving their working conditions wold benefit students. They said that they did not want to hinder children’s education but they had been forced into a strike.
It has been claimed that Abdul Jalil’s proposed tiered bonus payments would benefit some teachers while disadvantaging others.
How the PC deals with this strike will have an impact on the rest of the state sector, where salaries are still going unpaid and even when they are disbursed, employees immediately face limits on the amount of cash that can be drawn from banks.
It is understood that doctors and other medical professionals are also considering strike action over pay.
It was not however all bad news today for the Libyan education system. In Sirte today, mayor Mukhtar Al-Madani reopened Al-Fath primary school. It was badly damaged in last year’s fighting to oust terrorist fighters of the so-called Islamic State.
The school has been reconstructed by the Stabilisation Facility for Libya and the United Nations Development Programme. Some teachers and excited pupils were in classrooms to greet Madani. However, it is not yet clear if the school will now be excepted from the strike, if only because all education in the town has been severely disrupted for the last two years.