Moroccan teachers launch strike against trial of 45 colleagues
Moroccan contractual teachers launched Monday a nationwide strike in protest of prosecuting their colleagues over manifesting during the pandemic emergency state last year.
"Monday's strike comes in the context of protesting against the resumption of the trial of forty-five teachers before the Court of Appeal in Rabat in a desperate attempt to confiscate the right to strike and peaceful protest," Karim Al-Zaghdani, a member of the Media Committee of the National Coordination of Teachers Forced to sign Contracts, told The New Arab.
The appeal trial of the forty-five teachers was postponed until 5 December.
The prosecuted teachers are on trial for "violating the state of a health emergency" and "insulting security forces" during protests.
In March, the court of first instance convicted forty-four teachers of a two-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 1000 MAD ($US 100).
Meanwhile, Nezha Majdi, a contractual teacher, was sentenced to three months in prison for similar charges in addition to "insulting public authorities with the intent to harm their honour."
Majdi was charged after she told the media that following her arrest during the protests, the Moroccan police had sexually assaulted her during the 48 hours she spent in five different police stations.
No investigation was conducted into her accusations
Amnesty International has lambasted the trial.
While Al-Zaghdani said teachers will return to schools on Tuesday, he added that more strikes and protests will be scheduled in the upcoming weeks.
Tensions between contractual teachers and the government began in 2016 when the Moroccan state decided to establish a new hiring system in Moroccan public schools, known as "the contractual system."
Public school teachers in Morocco usually were hired by the country's education ministry, but since 2016, an estimated number of 100,000 public school teachers in Morocco have instead signed contracts with regional academies, with which they are granted lower pensions and fewer job security.
With the unemployment rate in Morocco currently standing at 12.7 per cent, the teachers say they had no alternative but to sign these temporary contracts.
For more than four years, contractual teachers have been protesting their precarious working conditions, demanding permanent jobs and better civil service benefits.
Contractual teachers have also said that they have been hit with financial penalties from $US 70 to $US 150 for each protest or strike they hold. Moroccan contractual teachers are paid 5,000 MAD ($US 500) monthly.
Before being elected in October last year, Morocco's new prime minister Aziz Akhannouch promised to prioritise education reforms.
Despite numerous meetings with the contractual teachers, Akhannouch's cabinet has yet to resolve the stalemate.