TEACHERS in Guinea returned to their classrooms on Tuesday after calling off a week-old strike to demand higher pay.They returned to work after the government agreed to some of their demands and said it was willing to negotiate others.
“We are happy with the outcome of the negotiations and that is why we have asked our teachers to go back to class,” Bamba Camara, the secretary general of the Guinean Teachers’ Federation told Irin. The strike began on January 10 to demand a 40% pay rise and better working conditions, but it was called off on Monday night.
Teachers in the capital Conakry were back in their classrooms on Tuesday.The government announced its willingness to make concessions to the teachers, who earn an average salary of about US$70 per month, after other trade unions and then the Republican Front for Democratic Change (Frad)alliance of opposition parties spoke out publicly in support of their demands.Camara said the government had not agreed to a straightforward percentage increase in teachers’ pay, but it had agreed to peg teachers’ salaries to a higher level of civil service pay immediately, with a commitment tonegotiate a further increase in the indexing level in due course.The trade union leader said that should the government renege on its promises, the teachers would resume their strike immediately.
In a separate development, Frad chairman Mamadou Ba said an opposition leader who had been arrested on January 6, the day after Prime Minister Cellou Dalien Diallo tried to relaunch political dialogue withthe opposition, had been released three days later. He said Antoine Soromou, who had been jailed from 1998 to 2001 on charges of plotting a coup against President Lansana Conte, had been arrested for entering the country with his national identity card, rather than aregular passport.
The Canada-based Internet site Guinnee news said Soromou, a former mayor of Lola, a small town in southeastern Guinea, left for Ivory Coast following his release from prison to set up a timber business.However, Soromou recently decided to leave Ivory Coast and return to Guinea following a deterioration in the political and security situation in the country, it added.— Irin.