A two-month long strike by teachers across Sudan has won concessions from the military government, despite facing fierce repression. After nearly two months on strike, and following the announcement of an exam and marking boycott, the Sudanese Teachers’ Committee was invited to negotiations with the Minister of Finance. According to STC representatives, the government has partially conceded one of the strikes’ main demands – payment of wages using the 2022 salary structure, which implemented a major pay rise for teachers compared to the old pay scale. Sudan is in the grip of a huge cost-of-living crisis which has seen prices spiral out of control and the real value of wages plummet.
Teachers in 3 provinces will be paid according to the new salary scale, but the strike is continuing “until all demands are met and conditions improved for teachers in all 18 provinces.”
The military regime which seized power last October has tried multiple times to break the strike. STC representatives reported that in Khartoum province alone, 200 cadres from the old regime of Omar el-Bashir, who was forced out by the popular uprising in 2019, were appointed to managerial positions. Security forces arrested and attacked teachers and shot tear gas into school playgrounds. In some provinces the authorities forced the school year to end early.
The negotiations between the STC and representatives of the military government has prompted questions from activists in the Resistance Committees who have been leading the mass protests and civil disobedience resisting the coup. Since last October they have stood by the “3 Nos – no negotiations, no partnership and no legitimacy”, and refused to talk to the generals’ regime. The STC have confirmed their continued opposition to the coup, but argue that they were negotiating as a trade union with their employer, rather than as a political body.
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