Government agrees to demandsPublic university staff end strike [Archives:2005/836/Front Page]
Mohammed bin Sallam
Yemeni Universities Teachers Staff announced last Tuesday that they will end their strike after the government promised to meet their demands and improve their situation and life conditions.
In a pamphlet distributed by the Council of Yemeni University Staff Syndicates, they said “the doctors and teachers who have recently met discussed the government's agreement on the initiative of Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Rectors of Public Yemeni Universities and came out with some points such as:
1. a 40 percent rise in salaries for the teachers and assistants staff to be paid in two steps: 20 percent to be added from January 2005 and then 20 percent after conducting reforms in July 2005 with retroactive effect from January.
2. YR 30,000 , which is not deductible, to be considered as a monthly housing allowance.
3. US$ 3000 for expenses of medical treatment abroad for incurable diseases according to the medical reports of the Medical Committee.
4. Specifying a sum of money for each university in order to provide the all medicine for the teachers staff, their assistants and their families.” Hundreds of professors and assistants at Sana'a University attended a meeting on April 20 at the Faculty of Law, where they rejected the government's offer of a 40 percent pay rise.The implementation was to be in two steps: 15 percent (nearly YR 4000) to be paid retroactively from January 2005 in the first step, with the remaining 25 percent to be added to salaries when the government decides on suggested reforms in the second half of this year. In response to the government offer, a number of professors expressed their disappointment over the lack of interest the government has shown toward solving the crisis. They also warned that the continuation of the current situation will lead many qualified professors to leave the country.The university doctors called the on government to reply quickly to their reasonable demands. The Council of the Yemeni University Staff Syndicates distributed a pamphlet on April 16 confirming their constitutional right to strike.
The pamphlet called on teaching staff and their assistants in public universities to keep up with their demands until the government makes an acceptable response. It also asked the media and NGOs to support the strikers.The council sent a letter to the President on April15, complaining of the government's negative reaction toward them saying that “the government intended during the past period to delay the discussion of our demands.”Concluding their letter, they asked the President for a number of demands, including”quick action in reforming university education, academically and financially, including the problems that the government talked about in the media for which it is directly responsible.” It called for a reply “to our just and legal demands… to care for the staff”s rights and grant them stability. This is to keep the [teaching staff] in the country and encourage them to be creative and serve their society. This is particularly important in light of the many reports showing that education is declining because of low staff salaries.”The letter also asked for a discussion of “the situation of the staff as an exceptional issue as it is in the item No. 6 considering the nature of the university education as the mind and conscience of the nation.”
In this respect, seven university professors, parliament members, threatened to present their resignations from the parliament opposing what they call the government's directive to issue a decree for preventing them to teach in their universities and to cancel their salaries.
In its Bylaw, The Parliament specified the cases in which it is prevented to combine the parliament membership and the previous job of the member.