A new nationwide strike by state schoolteachers in Sudan has entered its third day. The Sudanese Teachers’ Committee (STC) made the decision to strike on Sunday, less than two weeks after announcing progress in talks with the authorities.
The reason for the strike is the delay in the payment of teachers’ salaries for January and February. According to STC spokesperson Sami El Bager, some teachers received their pay only in mid-March, causing financial difficulties for them and their families. The wages, he added, are already insufficient to cover the daily needs of an average family.
The Finance Ministry was supposed to pay the delayed dues and a bonus to the teachers from Sunday onwards, according to what was agreed upon with the special committee formed by the Sovereign Council regarding the rights of teachers. However, the Ministry failed to meet its commitment, prompting the STC to call on all state teachers to strike until the delayed salaries are paid.
This is not the first time the STC has gone on strike. In March last year, the committee announced a partial strike in all states of Sudan due to the Finance Ministry’s failure to meet their demands for a raise of the minimum wage and a reform of the salary structure, payment of delayed salaries and allowances, and a better work environment.
After talks with the Finance Minister “reached a dead end” in mid-December, the Committee called on all teachers to close the primary, middle, and secondary government schools in the country from January 8 until January 28. More than 16,000 government schools in Sudan participated in the strike.
In response to the strike, a special mediation committee was formed by the Sovereignty Council, and Finance Minister Jibril Ibrahim promised to pay the delayed dues by February 12. However, the Ministry failed to meet its pledge, leading some teachers to doubt the sincerity of the Ministry’s commitments and labeling them as ‘political fraud’.
The STC announced a temporary suspension of the strike in late February to support continued negotiation efforts, which was extended in mid-March and again at the beginning of April. The committee described the Finance Ministry’s new pledges as a breakthrough, stating that “what is agreed upon is moving in the direction of implementation.”
As the strike enters its third day, the STC is calling on the Ministry of Finance to fulfill its commitment to pay the delayed salaries and bonuses to the teachers. The hope is that a resolution can be reached soon so that teachers and students can return to the classroom without further disruption.