Jordan students stay home as teachers strike

AFP
School children holding a picture of King Abdullah II watch out a window of the Swaifiyeh Secondary School for Girls in Amman on May 22, 2005
School children holding a picture of King Abdullah II watch out a window of the Swaifiyeh Secondary School for Girls in Amman on May 22, 2005 (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

Amman (AFP) - Hundreds of thousands of Jordanian students stayed home Sunday on the first day of the new academic year as public school teachers observed a nationwide strike to press for improved salaries.

Most of Jordan's 1.4 million public school pupils did not go to school, as the majority of the around 140,000 teachers kept away for a seventh consecutive day.

"We wanted to congratulate you on the first day of school. But the stubbornness of the government and its aggressive way in dealing with our legitimate demands have prevented us from doing so," the teachers' union, established in 2011, said in a statement to students and their parents.

"We have decided to go ahead with the strike after more than eight months of unsuccessful talks with the government. We know that you will understand our situation."

The teachers are demanding a 50-percent raise distributed over three years.

They held a similar strike in 2012 but it was suspended after a deal with the government.

Government officials were not immediatly available for comment on the latest dispute.