BEIRUT: Members of the Association of Public Secondary School Teachers in a number of Lebanese towns went on strike Wednesday to protest late salaries for former trainee teachers and demand their inclusion in the salary-scale law.
The association had called for the strike after secondary school trainee teachers who passed their training at the Education Ministry didn’t receive their salaries for January and February, the association’s head Nazih al-Jibawi told The Daily Star. He said the group also demanded that President Michel Aoun sign a measure passed by Parliament earlier this month that clarified a provision that would allow trainees to benefit from the salary-scale law. The law, passed in 2017, stipulated salary hikes for public employees.
Schools in many parts of the country closed for the strike, including Gebran Khalil Gebran High School in Bsharri, all public high schools in Sidon, as well as multiple schools in Nabatieh, Dinnieh, Koura, Batroun and Akkar, according to the state-run National News Agency.
In a statement Tuesday, the association said Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil had approved the disbursement of the late salaries. In a meeting between Jibawi and Education Minister Akram Chehayeb, the latter promised teachers that their salaries would come in regularly in the coming months. However, the statement said the teachers would still strike Wednesday to assert their rights.
The committee of contracted secondary public school teachers also joined the strike, the group’s head Hamza Mansour told The Daily Star. The committee had initially called for a strike demanding their delayed wages. Mansour said that although the ministry did eventually disburse the money, the contracted teachers went on strike anyways mainly to demand full-time employment.
Earlier in the week, Khalil had signed a separate check to pay a total of LL49 billion (about $32 million) for some 15,000 contracted public school teachers.
Teachers in Lebanon’s public and private education sectors have been protesting for years. Some want to be given long-term contracts and the associated benefits, while others have been protesting for higher wages.