Teachers extend strike suspension with extra month after negotiation ‘breakthrough’

A classroom in Darfur (File photo: Albert González Farran / UNAMID)

KHARTOUM – April 4, 2023

The Sudanese Teachers Committee (STC) has decided to extend the suspension of the nationwide state schoolteachers strike with an extra month as “there has been a breakthrough in the negotiations”.

After nearly two months of nationwide strike action, the STC decided in late February to temporarily suspend the strike to support negotiation efforts.

The Committee said in a statement on Saturday that they discussed the report by the teachers’ negotiation team, which is negotiating their demands with representatives of the Sovereignty Council.

The report presented several recommendations, including following up on the implementation of the grant from the Sovereignty Council, which amounts to a bonus of SDG 144,000 for each teacher and the payment of financial dues according to Resolution 380.

The Ministry of Finance agreed to fill the treasury of the 18 Sudanese states accordingly, starting from Sunday.

The Ministry of Finance also pledged to pay the bonus of the Eid El Fitr (the feast at the end of Ramadan) in the coming days instead of leaving it up to the state governments.

The Sudanese Teachers Committee described what happened as a breakthrough and said that “what is agreed upon is moving in the direction of implementation”.

Earlier in February, the teachers expressed their doubt about the implementation of the previous pledges of the Ministry of Finance to pay their outstanding dues and delayed salaries and labelled the promises as ‘political fraud’.

As for the demand to increase the minimum wage, the statement said that the committee of the Sovereignty Council’s negotiation committee proposed an alternative grant. The matter still needs to be discussed within the union.

Nationwide strike and suspension

The teachers embarked on a nationwide strike in December last year to demand an increase in spending on education and the minimum wage, improvement of teaching conditions and the school environment, and prompt overdue salary payments.

In October, the Ministry of Finance refused to meet their demands. After the first month of strike action, however, it promised in January to pay the delayed dues but claimed that would not be able to increase the minimum wage.

As explained earlier, the teachers doubted the sincerity of the promises. They also lamented the lack of commitment to increasing the minimum wage.

Negotiations continued and at the end of February, after nearly two months of nationwide strike action, the Sudanese Teachers Committee decided to suspend their strike for two weeks as “a sign of good will” to aid the negotiations. Teachers in several states decided to continue their strike until the demands are met. 

After the first two weeks, the suspension was extended in mid-March, and now again, to aid negotiations.

The strike has only concerned teachers in state-funded schools, not private schools.