By Maggie Falshaw
[Update: 19 April – solidarity message from UCU members at Westminster Kingsway college]
School teachers in Tunis are planning one day strikes in secondary and primary schools on Wednesday 17th and Thursday 25th April respectively. The strikers’ demands are for a pay increase, as rampant inflation has considerably lowered the value of salaries, against increased working hours, and changes in the working system, including large class sizes and in opposition to privatization of education. Mohamed Hlaiem of the primary school teachers’ section (SGEB) of the UGTT (Tunisian General Workers’ Union) told us that escalating privatization of education is an important issue in Tunisia. The system of universal state education is under serious attack as privatization by large for profit companies extend involvement in fee paying primary, secondary and tertiary education. This is creating a two-tier system with deteriorating conditions for students and teachers in the public sector. For example, class sizes in the private sector for the better off classes are around thirty to thirty five, while public sector classes of 60-70 children are being pushed upwards.
On hearing of the strikes planned by NUT and NASUWT teachers in England from June 2013, Mohamed Hlaiem said, ‘It’s the same struggle and the same problems’
What you can do:
- Send messages of support for Tunisian public sector teachers to firstname.lastname@example.org (copy to email@example.com or http://www.facebook.com/mena.solidarity
- Take a photograph of yourself and colleagues in your union branch using the poster designs below. Send to us or post on our Facebook page and we will forward
- Read more about recent strikes in the Kasserine region here, and a report on Tunisian teacher trade unionist Mohamed Sghaier’s visit to the UK in November.
- Poster 1 and Poster 2