Morocco’s education minister, Said Amzazi, on Wednesday confirmed that striking teachers would be fired along with trainees who joined them.
The teachers who have been on strike since March 3, demand integration in the civil service as employees of the education ministry. They are currently employed under temporary contracts and claim that while they enjoy the same salaries as their permanent colleagues ($520), they do not enjoy the same rights, especially over retirement.
They took to the streets of Rabat on Saturday and Sunday chanting slogans such as ‘freedom, dignity and social justice’ hoping to improve their job security. The striking teachers also urged the Education Minister and the Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani to step down as they shouted political slogans such as ‘This is a corrupt country’ and “We are ruled by a mafia.”
According to the education ministry, 7% of Morocco’s 7 million children have been out of school because of the strike which is now in its fourth week.
“After four weeks, we can no longer call this a strike. This is rather leaving a job without notice,” said Amzazi.
The education minister has refused to engage in dialogue with the coordination of striking teachers saying only unions are legally qualified to call for strikes.
Of the country’s 240,000-strong teacher workforce, 55,000 have been hired since 2016 under a new contract system.
Morocco is under pressure from lenders to trim the civil service wage bill and strengthen the efficiency of the public sector.