Education International
Education International

Education International supports Lebanese teachers’ struggle for fair salary increase

published 4 April 2008 updated 4 April 2008

Education International is strongly supporting the teachers of Lebanon in their strike action to back legitimate demands for a fair salary that reflects the high increase in the cost of living.

On 3 April, teachers across the country staged a one-day “warning strike” aimed at pressuring the government to come to the bargaining table in good faith and negotiate a fair salary deal for Lebanon’s teachers.

“Quality education for children requires good teachers. And good teachers need and deserve reasonable and adequate salaries to support themselves and their families,” EI Deputy General Secretary Jan Eastman said from Beirut.

In recent years Lebanese teachers have experienced a significant drop in their purchasing power due to huge increases in the cost of living and zero increase in their salaries. In response, the Teachers Syndicate of Lebanon (TSL) and the League of Public Secondary School Teachers of Lebanon (LPESPL) came together with other public education associations and partner groups to form a union coordinating committee and plan joint action toward shared goals.

Union leaders have had several meetings with key government officials, including Prime Minister Fouad Seniora and Education Minister Khaled Khabbany, both of whom acknowledged the legitimacy of the teachers’ demands. However, no positive action has been taken so far by the government.

Eastman praised the courage of the Lebanese teachers, especially in view of the severe political and economic challenges facing their country. And she commended their responsible and professional approach in asserting their collective bargaining demands.

“The teacher trade unions are determined to redress the dire situation of teachers’ low salaries, and they are working very hard to do so through pressuring the government to negotiate and through all democratic means available to trade unions,” she said.

Eastman is in Beirut for meetings with the unions regarding joint projects on training for school union representatives, professional development and research to support collective bargaining. She said EI’s member organisations, the TSL and the LPESPL, both expressed appreciation for international support in their struggle to achieve decent wages for their members.