Teachers threaten to sue government [Archives:2007/1022/Local News]

February 5 2007

SANA'A, Feb. 4 ) The Yemeni teachers' syndicates warned the government it will renew protests if their demands, included within the agreement they signed with the Ministry of Education in July 2006, are ignored.

The president of the Yemeni Teachers Syndicate, Ahmed Al-Rabahi, told Yemen Times the three teachers' syndicates will resort to the judiciary and sue the government if the government does not fulfill its promises and agreements with the syndicates.

Al-Rabahi said they contacted civil service and education ministers and they are waiting for their reply, assuring the syndicates would have recourse with demonstrations, but that will be decided later.

In a press release the syndicates criticized a government resolution from 2006 that standardized a system for work-related hardship allowances.

They said the law contrasted with the agreement as it sets the allowance at three levels 5 percent, 15 percent and 30 percent. The agreement set the hardship allowance at 110 percent for teachers, inspectors and administrators, and at 60 percent for other employees and to be paid out starting January 2007.

The release pointed out that the government endorsed the fixed and regular rights of 2005 and 2006 without the implementation of the second phase of salaries and wages law, considering the increase in the prices of basic commodities and services in the country.

It further asked the government to implement the agreement from the technical committee set for evaluating the compensation packages for teachers including raising the wages to YR 100,000 within the second phase according to the wage law which set the maximum limit for the first grade employees at YR 160,000.

It also asked for equal payments for those newly enrolled in the public job and upkeep the benefits the teachers enjoy before adopting the new system of wages.

The three syndicates stressed the importance of giving annual bonuses and premiums, including those of 2005 and 2006. They also asked for implementing the wage law at four phases starting as of July 2005.

They also called for implementing hardship allowance that include all allowance granted under teachers law within the old system as of July 2005 and to be paid retrospectively until the end of 2006.

For his part, media official at Teachers' Syndicate Abdul Nasser Al-Ragawi insinuated that all options still exist according to the law, and hopes cooperation between concerned authorities will not take the issue away from the judiciary and demonstrations.

He also said the earlier demonstrations before Parliament were fruitful as they resulted in a Parliament and Cabinet committee to discuss the potential solutions.

Khalid Al-Ansi, a lawyer with the National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms, told Yemen Times that teachers have the right to sue the government as any resolution is considered ineffective until it is legally ratified.