Protesting teachers go on hunger strike to call for better pay

Seven of the teachers staging a sit-in in front of the Cabinet in Cairo began a hunger strike on Wednesday to call for a minimum wage for teachers.

Meanwhile, dozens of teachers continued their sit-in for the fourth consecutive day, criticizing what they described as government disregard of their demands.

The protesters threatened to block Qasr al-Aini Street again and to stage a general strike across Egypt on the first day of school if the government continues to ignore their demands.

Mohamed Zahran, Matareya Teachers Syndicate chief and one of the organizers of the protest, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that around seven teachers have started a hunger strike to force the government to respond to the teachers' demands and set the starting salary for teachers at LE3000.

The protesters are also calling for the removal corrupt figures from the ministry's different sectors and permanent employment for teachers who have temporary contracts.

Zahran criticized the Public Prosecution and Health Ministry's disregard of the protesters and added that they should supervise the sit-in. He said three protesters lost consciousness on Wednesday.

Hassan Aboul Fotouh, a member of the Egyptian Teachers Union, said the teachers might go on strike if their demands are not met.

Activist movements that seek to improve conditions for teachers, including the Egyptian Teachers Union and the Independent Teachers Syndicate, called for the sit-in under the slogan “A school year without teachers.”

A nationwide teachers’ strike took place around the same time last year, with several unions participating. Labor mobilization in the public education sector’s ranks has been on the rise, with some rights reports saying the sector last year saw the highest number of protests in its history.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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