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Teachers Syndicate in Jordan, 70 years of fear and marginalization

(1) History of the Teachers Syndicate in Jordan

After Jordan became independent in 1946, and its name changed from the Emirate of Transjordan to the Kingdom of Jordan, the constitution was put in place in the second stage, so Jordan approved the establishment of professional syndicates, so that the Bar Association was established in 1950, the first Jordanian union, and then it established the Teachers Union in 1952, to be the second union A Jordanian woman was founded, where the Teachers Syndicate was born in the year in which the current Jordanian constitution was born, and after that she founded the Syndicate of Dentists, Doctors, Engineers, and Pharmacists, and within 3 years more than 30 trade unions were founded.

In the beginning, 3 unions were established for teachers that were operating in the Jordanian arena. The first of these unions was the Teachers Union in 1952, its main center was in Amman, and it had 5 branches in each of (Irbid, Karak, Maan, and in the West Bank in Nablus and Jerusalem), and there was a second union for teachers. The employees of the International Relief Agency, which was based in Jerusalem, and was established in 1954, and had 10 branches in the East and West Bank, where the kingdom was united with the West Bank and the unity of the two banks, in addition to the existence of a union for teachers working in Catholic schools.

The National Constitutional Party affiliated with the Nasserite trend in 1956 managed to form the first parliamentary government after it won 17 seats in the Jordanian parliament, and to form a government coalition of Baathist and left-wing parties headed by Suleiman Al-Nabulsi. However, this party began to move towards the Soviet Union, and was able to coordinate with the Free Officers Movement within the Jordanian army by threatening a military coup through the maneuver that it conducted at the gates of Amman, before a division within the army between the King’s loyalists and the Free Officers ’loyalists, which was followed by the events in the Zarqa camps in The conflict between the departments of the army, the late King Hussein bin Talal declared martial law, the dissolution of all parties and unions, the dismissal of the government, and the flight of the army commander and his successor after that to Syria.

All trade unions gradually returned to work after that, except for the teachers’ union, due to the prevailing political conditions, which saw a danger in the existence of a teachers union in the form of political life in Jordan and its stability from the point of view of the regime.

The 1978 Teachers Syndicate was re-attempted; However, the attempts were unsuccessful.

In 1993, teachers were able to revive their demands to establish a union, and a bill was submitted to the union by some representatives, and the House of Representatives approved it; However, the Senate – the King’s Council, the second chamber of legislation in Jordan – requested that the matter be referred to the High Council for the interpretation of the constitution, which decided that it was not permissible to establish a union for teachers because they are public employees.

The dream of establishing the union continued to sting the imagination of the teachers, whose living and professional conditions had deteriorated. Because of the marginalization of this large segment of society, the Arab Spring brought winds that moved these boats, and teachers were able to snatch a union for them after a long struggle with successive governments in the Arab Spring.

(2) The crisis between the union and the government

The number of male and female teachers working in all schools in the Kingdom reached 135,000 Jordanian teachers, 65% of whom work in the government sector, amounting to 88,000, and 35% of them work in the private sector, amounting to 47,000 teachers, as work in the private sector is concentrated mostly on females. ; Due to the low wages granted by private schools.

The income of a teacher in the government sector who has reached the special degree, and after more than 30 years of service, is approximately one thousand dollars, and the income of the teacher at the beginning of joining the profession reaches less than 500 dollars, while the income of teachers working in the private sector reaches 150 dollars per year. Some schools, in violation of the Jordanian Labor Law, which set the minimum wage equal to approximately $ 350.

Male and female teachers lived in a state of marginalization and slackening in aspects of life. As the teacher became forced to work in more than one place after the end of his work in schools, to secure his living requirements, especially with the high cost of living in Jordan. Amman has become described as the most expensive city in the Arab countries after Dubai. Because of the inflation resulting from high taxes, in addition to a package of regulations and instructions, which affected the profession of the teacher, his position and his social prestige, and reached imprisonment if he used some verbal or disciplinary roughness while teaching students.

There is no doubt that the motive behind the crisis between the union and the government is a large part of it political. However, there is also a nurturing environment within the union that helped lure the government into taking its escalating steps towards the union, and hit it with the killing.

The crisis began to escalate in the summer of 2019 between the union and the government, and the departure of the head of the teachers ’union, Al-Hajaya, with a traffic accident. 2019-2020 was crowned by the government’s fulfillment of the teachers ’demands, and the approval of a financial bonus that represented 50% of the basic teacher’s salary, and a set of demands, which has been termed as demands for 14, were approved, which raise the status and level of the profession, and restore to the teacher his social and professional value.

The Corona crisis has entered, and the government has stopped, after activating the emergency law, all increases granted to all government sectors. However, the conflict between the currents within the union was able to drag the union council and the vice president into a re-escalation again. The union council was dissolved by a decision of the public prosecutor at the end of July 2020, a temporary council was appointed for a period of two years, and the union council members and activists in the union stood for a month. He referred them to the judiciary, and dozens of active teachers were referred to termination of services, before they reached retirement age; To leave some income less than $ 100.

On the last day of 2020, the Magistrate’s Court judge issued a decision to imprison the members of the Bar Council for a year. Based on their criminalization of violating the provisions of the Penal Code, the provisions of the Cyber ​​Crime Law and the Parliamentary Elections Law, the Syndicate was dissolved in a step that everyone had expected, especially after the external opposition leaks about the government’s plan to liquidate the Syndicate, which formed a headache over the previous years.

(3) A nurturing environment and political motives

There is no doubt that the motive behind the crisis between the union and the government is a large part of it political. However, there is also a nurturing environment within the union that helped lure the government to take its escalating steps towards the union, and hit it with the killing.

Zero conflict among union members: as electoral conflicts and disputes remained at their most intense among union members throughout the electoral cycle, as teachers were able to transform their union yard into something like open warfare, and each of them thinks that they can exclude and filter the other, as some interpret these behaviors into modernity Associative experience; However, the government was able to exploit this structural weakness in the way of practicing democratic work in the union to divide the union class into two parts. This phenomenon did not exist in any of the Jordanian trade unions in this way, as all the public body usually rallies around the elected council when the elections are over.

The rise of the vice president to the front – which is affiliated with the dissolved Muslim Brotherhood in the hands of the judiciary – as the government turned the Syndicate into an arena for the dichotomy of the conflict between the regime and the Islamic movement, this conflict extending for more than 25 years, despite all the efforts made by the Islamic movement to avoid the involvement of the Syndicate in this extended conflict Since the Wadi Araba agreement in 1994, and the regime that followed it, the regime curtailed the movement and cut its wings gradually, in addition to the government’s constant insistence on portraying that the Brotherhood took the Syndicate as a front for the struggle and the bullying of the regime, at a time when the Jordanian arena witnessed an official approach to end the file of political Islam In Jordan, in line with surrounding regional pressures, although Jordan wants to end the file of the Brotherhood with a soft hand, away from the escalation practiced by the countries of the Arab region.

The success of the Teachers Union in October 2019 in subjecting the government to their demands was for the regime a great warning bell, that such success could lead to an escalation of protest waves, a rise in the frequency of factional demands, and it could also raise the ceiling of political demands. The success of the popular move from the viewpoint of the security movement, which holds the joints of the state, may tempt the political forces with more pressure and raise the ceiling of reform demands, and this for the regime is a red line that no one wants to approach it or achieve any breakthrough in it.

Many believe that the elimination of the teachers’ union was a long-standing political decision, after the government failed to control it, in addition to the fact that the union was the last remaining effects of the Arab Spring, which worried the Jordanian regime, so the union’s liquidation erased the effects of that stage, which are not He loves the official Jordan to remember it, and wants to erase all traces of it and leave it.

In addition to all that, the teachers union has a different feature from the rest of the unions, as it is the union of government sector workers, and it works with more than a million school students, and its movements affect every Jordanian home and constitute a major political pressure factor, and this is what it does not want. Jordanian government and agencies.

It is evident from the observation of the scene that the regime has decided to end the current union body of the teachers union, and that the judicial decision will most likely be ratified, and that the file is going to close from the regime’s point of view. But whoever decides to open the file again, recycle those sharp corners, and get out of this crisis is the Jordanian teacher, as he is the only one able to re-impose his demands, and restore his union that was born for the second time, and without that, the file will be closed for many years, before the circumstances that come Allow to open it again.

Will the Jordanian teacher do it again on the eve of the second decade of the Arab Spring, as he did in 2011?

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