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Hinging strike on meeting with PM like ‘lodging stick in wheel’ — Ghunaimat

By JT - Sep 18,2019 - Last updated at Sep 18,2019

AMMAN — Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson Jumana Ghunaimat on Tuesday said that the Jordan Teachers Association’s (JTA) meetings have always been held with the minister of education, not with the prime minister. 

The minister compared stipulating a meeting with Prime Minister Omar Razzaz as a condition to continue dialogue, to “lodging a stick in the wheel”, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra. 

The JTA on Sunday invited Razzaz for a meeting to negotiate teachers’ demands and end a nationwide strike that is now close to completing two weeks, but the government responded with its own invitation for the syndicate representatives to meet instead with a ministerial taskforce tasked with following up on the issue.

In return, the association did not respond to the government’s invitation, noting in a statement on its official social media accounts that it had met several times with the taskforce and the talks reached a dead-end every time because the taskforce was not authorised to fulfil the teachers’ demand.

Teachers launched their strike at the beginning of last week, asking for a 50-per cent pay rise that they say was promised by the government since 2014 but was never implemented.

Later on Tuesday, a government statement said that the ministerial team is prepared to meet with the JTA’s council at the Ministry of Education’s headquarters.

In the statement the government expressed its commitment to dialogue as a democratic approach to the issue that would result in agreements benefitting students, teachers and the educational process. 

“The doors are open to the JTA’s council for unconditional dialogue at any time,” the government reiterated. 

Teachers had also reiterated their commitment to dialogue to end the strike in public schools, where some 1.5 million students are enrolled, but despite both sides’ calls for discussion and mediating attempts on behalf of members of Parliament, there have been no direct talks since last week.

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