Public schoolteachers announced on Tuesday that they would hold a work stoppage at the start of the new school semester on February 6 as an escalating measure in protest against their “unmet” demands.
The decision was taken yesterday, when dozens of teachers gathered outside the Royal Court to deliver a letter to His Majesty King Abdullah outlining their demands and complaints over the salary restructuring plan for public sector employees.
“We delegated a number of teachers to enter the Royal Court and present its employees with the letter, but we were mistreated and somehow felt that they were not taking our cause seriously,” Raed Qatameen, head of the Jordan Teachers Committee’s Tafileh branch, told The Jordan Times during the sit-in yesterday.
Tensions that surfaced at the sit-in forced teachers to resort to the “last card on the table” and decide on the work stoppage, according to Amman Teachers Committee rapporteur Raed Azzam.
“We were somehow treated with disrespect,” he asserted.
Yesterday’s protest is part of a series of sit-ins teachers have pledged to carry out until their demands are fully met.
Their main objection is to the restructuring plan, under which their professional allowance dropped from 100 per cent to 65 per cent of their base salary, while the incentives associated with rank were reduced from 25 per cent to 16 per cent.
The Civil Status Bureau stated that all teachers would receive a raise of between JD20 and JD40 under the new restructuring system, which teachers described as “negligible”.
“This is why we wanted to plead to His Majesty that even our full makruma granted by him is not granted to us,” one of the teachers told The Jordan Times yesterday, referring to the professional allowance.
Although the teachers have acknowledged that Minister of Education Eid Dahiyat has no power to meet their demands, the minister has repeatedly expressed his support for their request that the professional allowance remain at 100 per cent.
Minister of Public Sector Development Khleif Al Khawaldeh could not be reached for comment.
Following a nationwide strike by teachers in 2010, the government took several measures to improve teachers’ financial and social status such as a series of raises over a period of one-and-a-half years.
In addition, under a Royal makruma announced by Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania, children of teachers admitted to public universities under the 5 per cent quota benefited from scholarships that covered all their tuition fees.