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Gov't, JTA ink agreement that ends teachers' month-long strike

By JT - Oct 06,2019 - Last updated at Oct 06,2019

Minister of Education and Higher Education and Scientific Research Walid Maani (right) and Jordan Teachers Association Vice President Nasser Nawasrah on Sunday sign the agreement that ended teachers' nationwide strike that lasted for one month (Photo by Khaled Oudat)

AMMAN — Teachers and the government on Sunday signed the agreement under which teachers agreed to end their one-month strike after having their demand for an apology and rise in wages met.

As per the agreement, signed by Minister of Education and Higher Education and Scientific Research Walid Maani and Jordan Teachers Association (JTA) Vice President Nasser Nawasrah, first, second, third and fourth-rank teachers will receive 35 per cent, 40 per cent, 50 per cent and 65 per cent salary increases, respectively.

A new “lead teacher” rank was created under the agreement and will be granted a 75 per cent pay raise. 

The training academy affiliated with the JTA is also to be recognised among the institutions accredited by the ministry. 

The education social security fund bylaw will also be revisited under the agreement so as to allow the JTA to have a role in administrating the fund. 

The years of service for teachers' eligibility to apply for makruma (benefaction) were reduced to five instead of ten as per the agreement. 

The agreement also increases the allowances for teachers who monitor the Tawjihi (the general secondary education certificate examination) and correct exam papers, in addition to considering teaching as an “arduous profession”.

The deal allows teachers to receive treatment at military hospitals at the same cost as at public hospitals.

The weekly quota of classes shall be reduced to a maximum rate of 18 weekly classes for lead teachers, 20 for experienced teachers and 22 for first-rank teachers as per the agreement.

The agreement cancels all penalties and proceedings taken against teachers due to participation in the strike and drops all lawsuits the government was to file against any teacher or the JTA.

Both sides also agreed to grant teachers housing loans with preferential murabaha (Islamic interest) rates through tools supported by the Central Bank of Jordan. 

Maani said the agreement came in fulfillment of His Majesty King Abdullah’s directives, which stressed the need for dialogue to resolve the month-long crisis.

“The return of students to classrooms and the resumption of the educational process have been His Majesty’s greatest concern,” Maani added. 

In a statement on Sunday, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said the best interest of students “was placed above all considerations” in reaching the agreement with teachers.

In an interview with Jordan Television later in the day, JTA Spokesperson Nouriddin Nadim said that the agreement was “a victory” for the Kingdom and that “no one has lost”, adding that the best interest of students was the main outcome of the resolution.                                                                                            Nadim noted that the strike succeeded because “it maintained professionalism and was not politicised”, according to Petra.  

Following a meeting that extended until late hours Saturday, a government team and the JTA reached a deal to end the strike that started on September 8.

Nawasrah described the deal as “historic”, valuing the government’s efforts to end the “longest work stoppage in the Kingdom’s history”.

In a letter he sent on Saturday to the JTA on the occasion of World Teacher’s Day, Razzaz sent a letter to the JTA, commending teachers and their efforts.

In the letter the JTA received as an apology, Razzaz expressed the government’s regret for any act that might have affected teachers’ dignity, pledging to take action once results of the investigation and the National Centre for Human Rights’ report are out.

The JTA has requested an apology from the government for the way it handled the sit-in they staged in Amman on September 5, during which the syndicate claimed its members were subject to violations.

The Public Security Department denied the allegations, but confirmed that 50 teachers were detained during the protest for “illegally forcing their way through to the government’s headquarters on Amman’s Fourth Circle”, which was the location designated by the JTA for the protest.

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