Yemeni teachers strike to demand better work conditions

Teachers in Yemen’s Hadhramaut province raise red signs in show of frustration, protest

Yemeni teachers strike to demand better work conditions

By Mubarak Mohamed


Thousands of teachers in Yemen’s eastern Hadhramaut province called a strike Wednesday to demand better working conditions and protest the war-battered country’s deteriorating economy.

“Today we have called a comprehensive strike after raising red signs and conducting a partial strike earlier,” teacher Taha Bafadl, head of Hadhramaut’s media committee for teachers’ rights, a local NGO, told Anadolu Agency.

In Yemen, raising red signs -- or wearing a piece of red cloth on the wrist or in the shirt pocket -- is a traditional symbol of protest and dissatisfaction.

According to Bafadl, teachers’ demands include a 100-percent salary raise for some 15,000 teachers in Hadhramaut.

Wednesday’s comprehensive strike is the third stage of an escalating labor action by the province’s teachers, which they have vowed to maintain until the government meets all their demands, Bafadl said.

The people of Yemen continue to face severe economic hardships, especially given recent declines in the value of the country’s currency.

After trading at roughly 215 to the dollar in early 2015, the Yemeni rial currently trades at about 630 to the greenback.

This has led to a drastic rise in commodity prices -- in some cases by as much as 300 percent -- since the country’s conflict began four years ago.

Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by conflict since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital of Sanaa.

The conflict escalated the following year when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a wide-ranging air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains and shoring up the country’s pro-Saudi government.

The violence has devastated Yemen’s basic infrastructure, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.

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