Young Moroccan teachers continue in six week strike over job security

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Teachers protest for better work conditions in Rabat, Morocco March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal
Teachers protest for better work conditions in Rabat, Morocco April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

In the wake of revolutionary protests across Africa, many young Moroccan teachers took to the streets to stage a protest in front of the education ministry in Rabat on Wednesday for the sixth consecutive week. They have been adamant in their strike hold out, demanding for job security and full civil service benefits.

The teachers want to become employees of the education ministry in order to fully enjoy the benefits of the civil service including better pensions and the right to move to work in other regions.

The government insists that teachers working by contracts have the same starting salary of 5,000 dirhams (around $520) like regular teachers.

Last month, police used water cannons to prevent about 10,000 plus teachers from spending the night in protest in front of the parliament.

Teachers protest for better work conditions in Rabat, Morocco March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

Education Minister Said Amzazi threatened to sack teachers if they do not return to the classrooms, saying the strike has affected 7 percent of Morocco’s 7 million students.

Morocco, which has avoided the turmoil seen by other countries during and after the Arab Spring of 2011, regularly sees protests though they rarely involve confrontations with police.

Some 55,000 teachers out of 240,000 in total have been hired on renewable contracts by regional education delegations since 2016 to address overcrowding in rural classrooms.

Morocco has come under pressure from international lenders to trim the civil service wage bill and strengthen the efficiency of the public sector.

Morocco increased the education budget by 5.4 billion dirhams ($561 million) in 2019 to 68 billion dirhams ($7 billion) as it seeks to boost access and improve infrastructure notably in hard to reach areas.

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