BEIRUT — The president of the union of private school teachers in Lebanon, Nehme Mahfoud, said Tuesday that in some areas, including Saida and Tripoli, the strike launched on Monday was carried out by "70 to 80 percent" of teachers. Mahfoud noted that the strike's enforcement varied according to region.
"The fight continues to ensure the rights of teachers in the private sector," Mahfoud said in a statement made Tuesday, demanding improved wages and working conditions.
Contacted by L'Orient-Le Jour, Mahfoud said that "in the most disadvantaged regions such as Tripoli or Saida, the strike was observed by about 70 to 80 percent of teachers." In the regions of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, the percentage was less.
"To those who count on our weariness, we will not calm down and we will not abandon our role, as others do," warned the union of private teachers in a statement. The statement denounced "the exploitation of [our] colleagues who are forced to work without the slightest compensation" and assured that the union would continue to monitor developments.
In some regions, the objectives set by teachers were achieved "well before March 14," following strikes that occurred in private schools "from Jbeil to Zahle through Baabda, Metn and others."
Teachers in these regions "have managed to wrest certain rights, such as transportation allowances paid in dollars or other compensation also in dollars, especially in Beirut and Mount Lebanon. However, in other regions, the struggle continues to provide teachers with necessary compensation," said the union.
Mahfoud added that "those who want to continue the movement will obviously be supported," but did not say whether the strike is officially extended.
In Hermel, some private school teachers responded to the call of the union and "protested against the failure of the Ministry of Education to pay the 10 million pounds promised for the pension fund of private schools," reported the state-run National News Agency. They also demanded the five liters of fuel per day of work, which is provided to public school teachers and asked the authorities "to provide the necessary compensation to save the school year."
The announcement of the private school teachers' strike coincided with the regular demonstrations of their public school counterparts. The public school teachers unions had announced on March 6 the end of a three-month strike, much to the dismay of their members who had not been consulted on this decision.