In a collective appeal to Minister of National Education Chakib Benmoussa, four education unions have demanded an end to the deductions being made from the salaries of striking teachers in a letter sent on Friday.
The unions are taking a strong stance in defense of the educators’ right to strike, a right they argue is protected by international agreements and enshrined in the Moroccan constitution.
The unions expressed their deep concern regarding the recent communication issued by the Ministry in reference to a document (numbered 23/1196), signed by the Secretary-General of the Ministry of National Education and directed to the Director of Employee Expenditure, which outlined the approval of salary deductions for striking teachers.
The unions find the timing of this communication deeply troubling as It was issued during a period of direct negotiations, which they perceive as counterproductive to the ongoing developments in the education system.
The unions argue that the right to strike is a legitimate one and that it cannot be deemed any less legitimate than the motivating factors behind it. These factors, they note, have been clearly expressed by the four major educational unions on multiple occasions through various available channels.
The unions firmly believe that making deductions from the salaries of striking teachers constitutes a violation of the right to strike. They view it as a direct attempt to impede the exercise of this fundamental right.
The unions also said in their letter that they find the public disclosure of an internal communication, which was previously considered confidential, to be provocative and counterproductive to the ongoing negotiations.
The unions asserted that such actions do not serve the best interests of the Moroccan public education system and urged the Ministry to reconsider its approach to handling the urgent and just demands of the teachers.
The Ministry of National Education maintained that there are no impediments to implementing these deductions, effective from Wednesday, for employees who have been absent from work without proper justification.
The escalating tension between the unions and the Ministry unfolds against the backdrop of ongoing dialogues between the unions, the Head of Government, Aziz Akhennouch, and the Minister of Education, Chakib Benmoussa, aimed at overhauling the Fundamental System.
In the meantime, teachers persist in their strikes and protests, with another round scheduled for the upcoming week, spearheaded by the National Education Federation, an education union that refused to sign the January 14 agreement, and has been striking against the Fundamental system since October 5 along with 18 education coordinations.