Reported on: July 08, 2012 12:21 PM
Reported in: Education
Beirut, July 08 (UNB) - EI has expressed its support for a salary increase demanded by the Teachers’ Coordination Committee in Lebanon. After an agreement was passed on an improved salary scale for workers in the private sector in February, the Committee carried out strike and protest actions to force the government to also enter into negotiations with public sector workers.
The Teachers’ Coordination Committee represents all teachers in Lebanon, including EI’s affiliates: League of Public Secondary School Teachers (LPESPL), Teachers Syndicate of Lebanon (TSL), and League of Public Technical and Vocational Teachers (CETO).
The negotiations conducted between the Teachers’ Coordination Committee, the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Education and Finance eventually resulted in an agreement on a new salary scale.
However, the government has not yet implemented that agreement, forcing teachers to boycott the correction of the official examinations for grades nine and 12, conducted during the month of June all over Lebanon.
Teachers and public employees also organised strike actions and had sit-ins in order to have their legitimate demands met. “The Union won’t back down from its decision to boycott the corrections unless the salary scales are approved,” said Hanna Gharib, LPESPL President.
No salary increases in decade
The implementation of the new salary scale would enable the public sector along with teachers in private schools to benefit from the wage raise for the private sector introduced by the Government. There was no serious change to teachers’ salaries for more than 10 years in Lebanon, despite an inflation rate increase of more than 100% during this period.
“International research has shown that quality education depends on high quality teaching delivered by qualified professionals,” said EI President Susan Hopgood. “Such qualified teachers cannot afford to remain in the profession if their salaries are not sufficient to pay for their living costs and are decreasing effectively as the cost of living increases.”
EI: call to adjust teachers’ salaries
Against this background, EI urges the authorities to adjust teachers’ salaries to a level which will enable them to maintain their quality of life. The Lebanese authorities should also enter into negotiations with teachers’ representatives to develop a system of increasing salaries to keep pace with increases in the cost of living in Lebanon.
The Teachers’ Coordination Committee recommended yesterday that teachers end their boycott after ministers representing the main blocs in the Cabinet promised to push for passing the new salary scale. They also pledged that in its upcoming session the Cabinet would refer the salary scale to Parliament.