Iran’s teachers stage a 2-day strike

Monday 16 April 2007

Teachers in Iran were on a nationwide strike today for the second day

Called by the Teachers’ Trade Association of Iran (Kanoon e Senfi e
Moalleman e Iran), the strike followed last month’s massive protests over pay and conditions, which ended in the arrest of hundreds of teachers as the security forces moved in to crush the action.

Labour organisations around the world and various sections of workers in Iran have protested at the regime’s brutality, calling for the release of those still in prison and the meeting of teachers’ legitimate demands.

In Sunday’s and Monday’s actions nearly all the schools in Tehran remained closed. Secondary schools were reported shut, while some primary schools remained open but no teaching took place.

In addition to the capital, the strike was observed in the following cities and regions: Esfahan, Homayoon-Shahr, Shahin-Shahr, Flaverjan, Pirbekran, Bojnoord, Eslam-Shahr, Shazand, Khomein, Arak, Tafresh, Farahan, Delijan, Karaj, Saghez, Bookan, Hamedan, Aligoodarz, Ardebil, Kerman, Urumiye, Tabriz and Broojen.

In Eslam-Shahr teachers were threatened. They were told not to assemble in the school.

In another development, 5 of the 9 detained teachers in the city of Hamedan, members of the Teachers’ Trade Association, were released after nearly 10 days in prison. They are: Jalilian, Foroozanfar, Sadeghi, Naderi and Najafi. The following are still in prison: Zareiee, Ghadimi, Refahiat and Gholami.

In Homayoon-Shahr in Esfahan Province, 4 teachers were summoned to the Information Ministry and detained. They are: Mojtaba Abtahi, Abdolrasool Emaadi, Nurullah Barkhordar and Hamid Mojizi. Their whereabouts are unknown.

In the city of Kerman, the city’s education chief accused the teachers of ‘conspiracy against the system’, following which several teachers were arrested. On Saturday 14 April, Hamid Pour Vosoogh, Alireza Rezaiee and Mohammad Reza Rezaiee were arrested and taken to Evin Prison in Tehran.

The teachers’ two-day action was pre-planned and went ahead in spite of the mass arrests, harassment and intimidation by the government. There is already talk amongst teachers of further actions in the coming days.

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Canadian University in Indefinite Strike Action


A total of 2000 university teachers have been on strike since the 14th of March after management refused to make concessions to their demands.

The strike concerns chargés de cours, who are teachers who are employed part-time to teach specific lessons. They are not permanent employees and are paid significantly less than permanent full-time teachers. The SCCCUL (Syndicat des chargés et chargées de cours de l’Université Laval) is demanding a pay rise and improved working conditions for the chargés de cours in recognition of the fact that the work that they do is no different to that of permanent staff.

The refusal of the management to budge during initial negotiations led to an indefinite strike being called, management claimed that they were able to cover 800 of the posts themselves or with permanent staff. The strike has increased in militancy recently with strikers beginning to heavily picket the university, with most classes being cancelled. The union has issued a statement recognising “the students have a right to their lessons, they have a right to be taught by the same staff as before, once these staff have been given a collective agreement recognising their rights.

Last Wednesday 100 strikers held a sit-in in the assistant rector’s offices, the previous day they blocked a nearby motorway. There are daily demonstrations and pickets.

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France: solidarity strike for arrested teacher

French teaching unions have called for a one-day strike this Friday (30 March)  in parisian primary schools in support of an arrested teacher.

Valérie Boukobza, the headmistress of a school in the north of Paris, was arrested on the 20th of March after intervening to try to prevent the arrrest of a chinese illegal immigrant who was collecting his two grand-daughters from her school. A police car was damaged and an officer injured in the course of scuffles, with police using tear gas against those present. Ms. Boukobza was arrested and charged with damaging public property, she has since stated that her intervention was part of her duty of care towards the two pupils whose grandfather was being arrested.

Seven French teaching unions (SNUipp-FSU, SE-UNSA, SGEN-CFDT, SUD-Education, Snudi-FO, CGT-Education et CNT Sèvres-Babylone) have put out a joint call for strike action and for a march to begin at Sèvres-Babylone at 2pm.

The unions have denounced the heavy-handed treatment of Ms. Boukobza and have criticised the education authority in her district for failing to support her. The Interior minister (and probable next President) Nicolas Sarkozy has called for the courts to be ‘allowed to do their job’. Something which Ms. Boukobza, currently held on remand, is unable to do.

By Jef Costello

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17/03/07 Teachers Protest in Warsaw


Over 12,000 teachers demonstrated today (17 March) in Warsaw. Among their demands were not only calls for a pay rise and retention of early retirement priveleges, but also for he dismissal of the Minister and Vice-Minister of Education.

Today over 12,000 teachers from around Poland came to Warsaw to protest the policies of the government, both in regard to its financial committment towards education workers and to the outrageous actions of the Minister and Vice-minister of Education.

The teachers are demanding an immediate pay raise of 7%. When the current Minister of Education was instated, teachers were promised this raise and talk of the raise even occurred during the elections. Although teachers were given a smaller raise, it fell short of the promised 7%. Currently it is not uncommon for a teacher with 20 years’ experience to earn about 300 euros per month.

By comparison, police were given a much higher raise as an incentive. Many teachers are aware that while the state is reluctant to spend money for their salaries, it continues to launch expensive military programs and even orders the process of checking 700,000 citizens for cooperation with the communist regime. Most education workers, as well as most citizens, feel that the government’s spending priorities are totally screwed up.

Even more than the wage issue, the teachers were protesting against the politics of the Minister and Vice-Minister of Education. The Ministry of Education is currently under the control of far-right politicians from the League of Polish Families. They are trying to implement dozens of horrible programs and to get rid of or harass any teachers or educational workers who have left-wing sympathies. This has led to hirings and denial of professional recognition for some teachers; most recently the League has also motioned to confiscate the property of the union ZNP because it operated before 1989 and some of its members and leadership have left or liberal sympathies.

Most recently, besides the introduction of obligatory school uniforms, the Ministry has been launching a crusade against gays. The League introduced a bill which would make it a criminal offence punishable by jail time to “promote homosexuality” in schools. What does that mean? The head of Teacher Training in Poland was fired last year for using a handbook written by the Council of Europe which contained one chapter on “tolerance”; he was accused of using a book which promoted homosexuality. The Vice-Minister also claimed that gay teachers would be fired. He later claimed that it wasn’t what he meant. You could be a gay teacher, but you can’t “promote” homosexuality. Presumably that means you could be a gay teacher – as long as nobody found out about it.

For this reason, the Campaign Against Homophobia and some other gay activists joined the teachers strike. So did some anarchists from FA Praga, Elba Squat and Food Not Bombs. Oddly enough, the leftist sects which usually appear at such events were not to be seen, except one or two persons. Students, including anarchist the students were oddly completely missing. So were otherlabour activists. There were some other people who came from the general public – mostly private individuals. This lack of support was rather odd and unfortunate; the great majority of people support the demands of the teachers.

By laureakai at

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University of Manchester to axe 400 staff

Four hundred jobs are to go at the University of Manchester to clear a £30m debt, it has emerged.The university admitted that it is looking to make voluntary redundancies to offset the debt, which was created by the merger between the Victoria Manchester University and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (Umist) in 2004.

There are no plans for compulsory job cuts.

But the promise has failed to reassure the university lecturers’ union, which is opposed to any jobs disappearing and has accused the university of mismanagement. David Beale, from the Manchester branch of the University and College Union (UCU), said: “We do not accept these redundancies and the vice-chancellor has yet to make a financial case for them.

“Despite the vice-chancellor’s reassurance that there will be no compulsory redundancies, the voluntary severance deal is poor and any job losses will greatly intensify the work loads for those who remain.”

Richy Carrothers, the union’s full-time regional officer for the north west, said although he knew there were “financial problems”, the first he discovered the scale of the debt was at a briefing a week ago.

The UCU was unable to say how many of the 400 jobs would be academic posts. But it said the university was “privately” hoping that lecturers would come forward because their departure would save the most money, claimed Mr Carrothers.

The union is advising its members not to put themselves forward for voluntary redundancy as it believes the offer on the table “is not good enough,” he confirmed.

The lecturers’ union want the university to introduce a recruitment moratorium while discussions continue about the redundancy package and the £30m debt, he said.

He said: “The university is continuing to recruit at an awesome pace – they have sold the family silver without looking at the financial consequences.”

A letter sent to all staff on March 2 by the university’s president and vice-chancellor, Prof Alan Gilbert, explained the background to the debt and the need for job cuts.

A third of the debt was predicted following the merger of the two universities, and another £10m was due to a deliberate decision to move further into the red to build up the new university’s research base. The remaining £10m can be attributed to the 10 per cent rise in the payroll following national wage settlements between 2005 and 2006 and the doubling of energy costs, he explained.

Prof Gilbert said the decision to transform a “very good university into a world leader” was “always going to involve genuine, effective ‘re-profiling’, not just spectacular growth”.

He said: “So while we continue to recruit researchers, scholars, teachers and support staff, and invest in those already here, we must also find ways to enable other colleagues, less comfortable with Manchester’s ambitious ‘step change’ agenda, to leave the university voluntarily and with dignity.”

A university spokesman confirmed 400 jobs were to go across the board and he denied that the university was hoping that lecturers would step forward.

Manchester was against a recruitment moratorium because it was committed to identifying and attracting “virtuoso” appointments, he said.

By Debbie Andalo

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Iranian Government Clamps Down On Teachers

The authorities in Iran have arrested up to 1,000 teachers in a brutal crackdown that signals their determination to break a pay revolt.Riot police beat demonstrators with batons as they tried to gather outside Iran’s parliament and education ministry and herded them into police vans and buses before transporting them to detention centres across Tehran.

Around 150 of those arrested in Wednesday’s protest are still in custody, with the ringleaders believed to be in the capital’s notorious Evin prison. Others were released after signing a commitment not to participate in “illegal” demonstrations.

The clampdown follows recent rallies outside parliament, which drew up to 10,000 demonstrators, many of whom displayed banners criticising President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government as part of their campaign for higher pay. An average university-educated secondary-school teacher earns £160-180 a month, below the poverty line and much less than workers in other government sectors.

Last week, police arrested six teachers’ union leaders in an unsuccessful attempt to stop a gathering that coincided with a planned women’s rights demonstration.

Robert Tait in Tehran, The Guardian, Saturday March 17, 2007

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University of Michigan Temps Organizing Campaign


The temps at the business school just want to give an update to the community on what’s happening so far. We’ve received phone-ins and email support from the Ann Arbor community, around the country, and around the globe. We’ve had students come forth and assist with signature collection and engage fellow students on campus about the organizing drive. We’ve had other workers and other unions lend their thanks and support as well. You’re feedback has been essential to keeping this organizing campaign all together. Without you, it wouldn’t have been possible. Pat yourselves on the back.

And now for a quick update. We’ve been running back and forth and emailing management for the last two days trying to bring them to the negotiating table to discuss the issues we raised on Monday. Communication from management has been sporadic. We are under the assumption right now that the Business School wants to frame this as an HR (The Business School’s Human Relations department) issue and try to avoid management having to deal with the very policies they have a hand in implementing. We are fully aware that administrators within the business school have the capacity to make the changes we are asking them to make. We just have to convince management of their own capacity to enact them.

So, once again, at this point in the campaign we’re trying to put management to task and meet up with us to discuss implementing the issues we’ve raised. Management seems hesitant to act without HR’s approval. That’s where we are at as we lead into Wednesday.

We will be sending a few organizers to speak on the 15th at the Campus Unite! rally on the diag. We’ve got a 5 minute spot and we will engage everyone there on the campaign and give a quick update. Campus groups are calling for the rally to occur at the cube at 2:30PM on the 15th. Look for us there.

The Temps

For more info, go to

To Sign the Online Petition

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Serbia: Student blockades spread

Update on the student protests in Belgrade, from a participant.

By Joseph K, from  


At 19:00h tonight occupation of the Philosophical faculty has been declared. This is now second faculty that is being held by students, together with faculty of Architecture. The meeting was held with the minister of education yesterday, but his offer was rejected by the 600 students strong assembly at the Architecture faculty.

The university and State (although, the government is not formed for two months now, since the last elections, and most probably no-government situation will be prolonged for at least a month more) authorities are increasingly getting aware of the possibilities of this turning into a real hell for them, so now more political accusations are coming. Dean of the philosophical faculty claimed at todays university meeting, in front of the press which only waited for that so to blow up the story, just few hours before blockade that he is:

“…expecting that the blockade starts at his faculty too, because, organizers of all strikes at the University are not students, but organization named “Anarcho-syndicalist initiative”

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Iran: Teachers strike joined by factory workers

By Joseph K –  

On Monday 5th March, about 100,000 teachers went on strike. On 8th March 10,000 teachers staged a picket outside the Parliament building in Tehran demanding justice and better wages.

According to the Organisation for Womens’ Liberation, “all along the regime has refused to meet their demands. On 8th March (International Women’s Day), many students and the women’s movement showed their solidarity with the teachers. Many 8th march leaflets were distributed among the demonstrators. There were talks among the demonstrators to join the 8th March demonstration by Tehran University .

On Monday 5th March, several thousand factory workers also joined the teachers to demand their unpaid wages. Many workers’ committees have issued 8th March messages to commemorate International Women’s Day.”

The strike is reportedly the biggest industrial dispute in Iran in recent years, with schools forced to close nationwide. Teachers said the strike had not been orchestrated by any labour organisation but had caught on by word of mouth. Labour unions are typically weak and disorganised in Iran.

More information:
Background on the recent upsurge in class struggle in Iran is contained in an article by the Aufheben journal (pdf file) on the site.

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Serbia: Students protest and occupy

By Joseph K, article from

A participant’s report of new student protests against neo-liberal “reforms” of the education sector.

“Some 300 students gathered at the protest in front of Faculty of Architecture today. After blocking of the major Belgrade boulevard for some time, just few hours ago decision was made to do a sleep-over in the faculty building, which will turn into a full-time blockade of the building tomorrow morning. 400 students are currently occupying the faculty. As before, the infrastructure of the protest is provided by ASI-IWA (libcom editors’ note: the Serbian affiliate of the anarcho-syndicalist International Workers’ Association).

This is just a first step in revival of the protest in this schooling year. In the autumn of 2006, students at the University of Belgrade launched the first organised counter-offensive against neo-liberal reforms of higher education in Serbia. In this way they continued the same struggle initiated earlier in the same year by their colleagues from France, Greece and other countries across the world.

The student protests lasted three months, from the beginning of October until end of December 2006. It included eight public protest meetings, over 30 student gatherings at the Faculty of Philosophy and approximately 15 gatherings at other faculties across the city. Over 17,000 students of Belgrade University signed petitions in support of protest demands.”

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