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Teachers reject union decision to stop strike

Feb. 26, 2013 10:06 P.M. (Updated: March 1, 2013 8:29 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – Many West Bank teachers disagreed with the teachers’ union decision to cancel a general strike announced Saturday in protest against the government’s failure to pay salaries regularly.

The teachers’ union speaker Ahmad Suhweil on Tuesday addressed about 1,000 teachers who picketed in front of office of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah telling them the union decided to end general strike after agreement has been reached with the government.

Several teachers opposed the decision, saying they won’t abide by it.

“Teachers must abide by the union’s decisions, otherwise we will not defend or provide legal protection to any teacher who doesn’t abide by the decisions,” Suhweil told Ma’an.

"I am not an executive authority," he added, "and if they choose to go to work or go on strike, it is their business but they have to face the ministry and the cabinet ministers. However, lack of commitment to the union’s decisions will eventually weaken the union which every teacher may need when they face any problem."

Suhweil highlighted that agreement was reached with the government long ago, and that agreement was officially signed Tuesday. This agreement, he said, included several articles which will bring to an end “injustices against teachers.” We will continue to discuss all the teachers’ demands with the government, he added.

When Suhweil announced the union’s decision, heated arguments erupted and teachers started to chant slogans accusing Suhweil that he does not represent their interests and that he yielded to pressures from the government. They asserted they won’t abide by the decision and would remain on open strike until the teachers’ union is disbanded and anew one is elected.

A teacher who identified himself as Abdul-Rahim Hussein casted suspicions about the agreement with the government. He told Ma’an the government put off one of the demands until September so as to buy some time for more deception and evasion.

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