You are here

Conflict Incident Report

Teachers across Lebanon stage one-day warning strike

Date of incident: 
February 12, 2018
Death toll: 
Number of Injured: 
Actors/Parties Involved: 
Lebanese Civilians

Teachers across Lebanon skipped school  to protest recent heavy-handed measures taken against colleagues when they were protesting a lack of government action on wage stagnation and working conditions. The “one-day warning strike” was held to demonstrate against the treatment of teachers who protested Thursday at Baabda Palace, spokesperson for the Association of Secondary School Teachers Nazih al-Jibawi said at news conference at the association’s UNESCO offices.

Five teachers were arrested and several others injured when security forces dispersed the hundreds-strong crowd that had gathered outside the Cabinet session and blocked roads leading to the presidential palace.

They were protesting the fact that education issues had again been left off the Cabinet’s agenda.

Education Minister Marwan Hamadeh boycotted the session due to the absence of items tackling teachers’ yearslong grievances.

Some private schoolteachers have been demanding pay increases in line with a public sector wage hike, known as the salary scale law, passed in July. Others who have been employed on short-term contracts that do not include benefits, such as reimbursement for transportation fees, have for years been asking to become full-time employees.

“In Lebanon, unfortunately, teachers have suffered from oppression and indifference,” Jibawi said.

Teachers are now demanding a wage correction “more than 20 years after the last correction in 1996,” he said, in reference to the last salary scale for public sector workers before the one passed in July.

More than just asking for increased wages, the teachers have been calling for an increase by “six degrees” – a term used to describe the inflation-adjusted wage increases they say they have been owed since the last salary scale. The six degrees would reportedly amount to a raise of roughly 40 percent.

Teachers complain that they have received some of the lowest raises from the salary scale law, which Jibawi said “increased the injustice.”

Reports of strikes Monday were ubiquitous across Beirut, the southern district of Bint Jbeil, Koura in the north of Lebanon and the eastern city of Baalbeck.

Head of the Bekaa’s syndicate of secondary schoolteachers Hasan Mazloum said the entire Bekaa region’s primary and secondary schoolteachers had been in “total conformity” with the strikes.

“What happened at Baabda Palace took place right after the entire country had been burned by people on motorbikes and security services just watched – but they couldn’t handle 700 teachers who were striking for their rights?” he told The Daily Star Monday, in an apparent reference to recent widespread street protests staged by supporters of Speaker Nabih Berri.

“There may be more escalation if we don’t see the government take steps to give us our rights,” he said, adding there was no reason for hundreds of teachers who had been trained as secondary educators and were currently teaching classes not to receive both transportation and health benefits.

Hamadeh has meanwhile been calling for a specialized Cabinet session to address educators’ issues, and at Thursday’s session both President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri called for such a session, yet as of Monday evening no date had been set.

Hamadeh could not be reached for comment before going to print.

This security incident was mapped according to the closest possible location.
Primary category: 
Collective Action [inc. protests, solidarity movements...]
Classification of conflict (primary): 
Policy conflicts
Conflicts associated with political decisions, government or state policies regarding matters of public concern, such as debates concerning law reforms, electoral laws, and protests of the government’s political decisions, among others.
Classification of conflict(secondary):
Conflicts of socio-economic development
Conflicts associated with lack of, or gaps in economic development, opportunities and access to resources.