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Teachers launch open strike

Dec. 2, 2013 6:30 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 3, 2013 9:43 A.M.)
NABLUS (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian teachers union decided to launch an open strike a few hours after the High Court of Justice ruled that a strike was illegal and must be called off.

“We would like to announce to our great people that we care about our children more than anybody else, and so we will have intensive make-up classes,” a statement by the teachers’ union read.

The statement announced an open strike highlighting that the Palestinian government would be held responsible if the school year is disrupted as a result of the strike.

Jerusalem teachers have been excluded from the new procedures.

The statement demanded that the government add 2.03 percent of the cost-of-living salary increase which has been deducted since the beginning of 2013.

Furthermore, the statement demanded implementation of sections two and three of an agreement the union and the government signed in 2012. These two sections, according to the statement, affirm that all employees in the ministry of education including administrative employees should receive a salary increase of 10 percent.

Earlier, the High Court of Justice made a final decision that the strike was illegal and must be called off.

According to the decision, the teachers’ strike breaches article 67 of the Palestinian labor law.

“The fact that the defendant (the teachers) hasn’t observed article 67 is a clear breach of the law, and it harms teachers’ dignity as well as students’ rights, and so it is a null procedure which must be called off.”

Immediately after the decision was announced, the teachers’ union held an emergency meeting to discuss what to do next.

A spokesman of the PA’s attorney general, Abdul-Ghani al-Uweiei, said in a statement that the minister of education asked the AG to go ahead with legal procedures against the secretary-general of the teachers’ union on charges of disobeying court orders.

The High Court had demanded Sunday that the union call off the strike temporarily until a final decision was reached.

The AG’s spokesman highlighted that disobedience of a court order is a punishable offense. Punishment, he added, could include imprisonment or even discharge if the defendant is a civil servant.

The statement added that the attorney general started to examine the minister’s request so he can go ahead with the needed legal procedures.
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