Tens of thousands of striking teachers brought central Cairo to a halt on 24 September in a huge protest outside the parliament buildings to press home their demands for the resignation of the Education Minister and improved pay and conditions. Delegations of teachers from across Egypt mobilised for the demonstration which was also joined by other groups of striking workers, parents marching in solidarity with their children’s teachers, and activists from a range of political parties.
The strike is creating new networks of co-ordination at a local level which mobilised thousands of teachers for the protest. Teachers in Al-Arish, in Northern Sinai have formed a conference of their strike committees which issued a statement calling for protests locally in solidarity with the march in Cairo. Hundreds of teachers joined a similar demonstration in Aswan.
The Independent Teachers’ Federation, which has played a key role in organising the strike said in a statement on 25 September:
“We completely reject the latest statement by the cabinet, as it ignores teachers’ legitimate demands in terms of genuine change in the policies of the Ministry of Education which have marginalised the public education system in Egypt, as well all those teachers and students within this system.
However the power of the teachers’ movement has allowed us to make some significant gains:
1. The teachers’ movement has become a power on the ground and our voice is being heard.
2. The government has promised to review the teachers’ pay structure in order to provide better material and professional conditions for teachers.
Therefore we announce the suspension of the strike from 25 September, on condition that the government honours its promises.”