Classes resume in Niger universities after month-long strike

2018-10-01 21:06
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Classes resumed on Monday at universities in Niger after teachers suspended a month-long strike over pay and academic management, two trade unions in the West African country announced.

"Our members are disciplined and will obey this" decision, the secretary-general of the National Union of Teacher-Researchers in Higher Education (SNECS), Nabala Adare, told AFP.

"Courses began again in faculties but many students are waiting for the schedules of their activities," said Idder Algabid, leader of the Union of Nigerien Scholars (USN), a union of students.

The SNECS first announced the suspension of its strike order "while waiting on the outcome" of mediation with the government undertaken by the National Commission on Human Rights.

The government had agreed to "postpone the implementation" of new regulations on the management of universities, which include the appointment of deans by decree, according to a statement signed by the two sides and the rights commission.

The SNECS strongly opposes the selection of top university staff by official decree and pulled 505 teaching and research staff off the job on September 3, the first day of the new academic year.

The union wants a backlog of salaries and bonuses paid to the staff concerned. Strikers are also demanding health insurance and the payment of costs incurred for supervision and development duties.

Higher Education Minister Yahouza Sadissou said in mid-September that the wage backlog had been cleared and that "the few cases of arrears" of bonuses would shortly be settled.

Sadissou added, however, that he would not bow to pressure to have the dean and deputy head elected - rather than named - at the University of Maradi in southern Niger, which is a key issue for the SNECS.

The minister also warned that deductions would be made on staff salaries for the strike days.

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Read more on:    niger  |  west africa

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