Teachers are facing increasing pressure to end their national strike, following a call from The Free University for Education (UGTM), associated with the General Union of Workers in Morocco—a union linked to the Independence Party.
The university urged its members to cease protests and resume work, according to a press release issued on Wensday. This call comes in conjunction with the government-led dialogue with 4 education unions, focusing on the fundamental system.
The Free University for Education stated that its decision is an act of goodwill, providing an opportunity for serious negotiations under the supervision of the head of government Aziz Akhannouch.
The union said that its request to suspend protests is part of a national responsibility towards the current situation of public schools which have been undergoing serious disruptions since October 5th.
The decision to cease the strike has created a division within the union, with numerous members expressing opposition to their union’s call for the strike halt. Some members have even chosen to resign.
Meanwhile, teachers refused to adhere to this decision, asserting that it was the union’s endorsement of the fundamental system that prompted their protest, noting that the strike was not initially organized by the union.
The National University for Education (UMT) has added its voice to the former union and urged its members to cease their strike as well, aiming to actively participate in the ongoing discussions with the government.
In response to these appeals, teachers declared their unwavering commitment to continue their protests and strikes until the Fundamental system is removed. They asserted that these unions were the catalyst for their protests and lacked the authority to call for a cessation of the strike, as they were not the ones behind it.
A teacher who spoke to MoroccoLatestNews En anonymously said that “the protests and strikes cannot be halted as we have no guarantees so far that any substantial changes are going to be made”
The teacher added that “the unions urging us to return to our work are the reason behind this chaotic situation since they signed the 14 January agreement, while only one union considered our rights and refrained from signing.”
The teacher explained that the ongoing protests and strikes would not have been possible were it not for the National Federation of Education (FNE) and other coordinations which have been escalating their protest in the face of the fundamental system. He added that “the other unions do not represent the education workforce or defend its demands.”
Enaam Mayara, the General Secretary of the General Union of Workers in Morocco (UGTM), justified the call for the cessation of the strikes in an interview on national broadcasting channel 2M saying that “We participated in protests, and now we’re expressing goodwill. It’s essential for us to go back to our classrooms to educate our children.If we fail to reach solutions through dialogue, then resorting to protests becomes an option.”
Mayara further added that “no one benefits from this situation. Our children are the ultimate losers from these strikes. Therefore, I request that teachers return to work and place their trust in the unions, as there will be solutions that satisfy everyone and involve concessions from all parties, benefiting the education system.”
The Federation of Associations of Parents registered the loss of more than a month and a half of the current school year, in a letter addressed to the head of government, Aziz Akhannouch on Monday.
The federation asserted that the ongoing strikes in the education sector, estimated between 80 and 90 percent, impose a heavy toll on students in public schools, and called on the government to withdraw the decree related to the fundamental system.
Mustapha Baitas, the Minister Delegate for Relations with Parliament and Government Spokesperson, said on Thursday that the government “has not and will not close the door to dialogue with the men and women of education.”
Baitas said that the government will apply legal provisions related to salary deductions for striking teachers, noting that salary deductions for striking teachers are a legal requirement, and the government cannot violate the law.