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Teachers stay home despite deal to end strike

Feb. 7, 2013 9:31 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 7, 2013 7:41 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian teachers rejected calls from their own union on Wednesday and went on strike across the occupied West Bank, shutting down government schools in major cities.

The union of teachers had officially decided not to carry out plans to strike Wednesday after the head of the union, Bassam Naim, said representatives met with education ministry officials.

Nevertheless schools in Nablus, Jenin and Bethlehem were closed Wednesday.

Ahmad Anees, the head of a group of Palestinian teachers, said there was "confusion in many of the districts" when a strike was announced Tuesday after "the government turned its back on our demands."

"When we signed an agreement with (ministry official) Musa Abu Zaid, there was no reason to continue with the strike because the interests of the students is what matters to us," he said.

However, the government failed to consult with secretary generals of the union in individual districts, which "pushed us to continue with the strike" in the cities where teachers stayed home.

Anees said all schools would resume operations normally on Thursday.

The cancelled strike followed the Palestinian Authority's failure to pay salaries on time amid the overall financial crisis as well as years-old complaints about pay increases for long-term employees.
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