As University Teaching Staff Calls Off Strike, Sheer Disappointment with Government [Archives:2001/43/Local News]

October 22 2001

The seven-government university teaching staff (3500) called off the strike that started on September 21 to press the government to raise their salaries and improve their standard of living.
In a press release issued last Tuesday, the association of the teaching staff said they decided to call off their strike and go to work beginning Tuesday. The association said the government agreed to increase the salaries of professors,associate and assistant professors by 40% starting from last August, and another increase of 30% beginning August 2002. The MA holders and demonstrators will be given a raise of 15% starting from last August and a similar raise in August 2002.
The teaching staff, who were pressed by high ranking officials, said they would continue to ask the government to issue their contract. The association’s statement said if the agreement with the government is not carried out in spirit and letter, it has the right to use all democratic means, including strikes, to press the government to fully implement the agreement.
Dr. Abdulghani Kasim, Secretary General of the association, expressed his unhappiness with the government and said it brought up nothing new. These opposing attitudes divided the administrative board of the association. Some of them withdrew from the meeting that was held last Tuesday that included 300 doctors. Dr. Kasim suggested the Association General Assembly should hold an emergency meeting to take a proper attitude and and make the right decision regarding the teaching staff’s demands. Others said the decision of withdrawing the strike should be taken by the teachers attending the Tuesday meeting so as to ensure the unity of the association. They suggested that they should continue demanding the issuance of their contract in the future.
The government was very reluctant to meet their demands and showed negative attitudes towards university teachers. They appealed to President Saleh, who promised them their contact would be released at an earlier date in order to solve their problem, but to no avail.
Some observers sarcastically exclaimed, “Why don’t they resort to kidnapping to get their demands fulfilled!” Others said the authorities showed positive response towards tribesmen, but deal with university teaching staff in a very different manner.