Bahrain teachers call off protest
Manama, March 24, 2011
Teachers have called off their strike, a day after Bahrain's main union announced its members would be returning to work.
The General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions brought an end to a nationwide general strike on Tuesday, but some teachers are still not turning up for class.
However, the Bahrain Teachers Society (BTS) yesterday called off its own strike following a meeting with Education Ministry officials behind closed doors.
'The issue of striking teachers was extensively discussed during the meeting with officials,' a BTS spokeswoman told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).
'We explained our stance and they asked us to return to work which we have agreed.'
The BTS members, mainly consists of primary, intermediate and secondary teachers at government schools, are now expected back at work today.
'We wanted to ensure that students are safe and decided to call off the strike,' said the spokeswoman.
'The officials also assured us that situation was improving and it was important for striking teachers to resume their duties.'
After the meeting, teachers met members of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society at its headquarters, Zinj, to relay their decision to return to work.
However, the BTS spokeswoman urged ministry officials not to take legal action against any striking teachers.
More than 7,000 public school teachers first went on strike last month in a show of support for anti-government protesters.
They later set up a 'Teachers Protest Tent' at Pearl Roundabout, which was razed last week by authorities.
However, more than 6,000 volunteers answered a ministry call to come forward to fill in their positions.
Education Minister Dr Majid Al Nuaimi on Monday warned teachers to ignore calls to strike, saying it deprived students of their right to study.
He said some were receiving salaries without carrying out their duties, which was not acceptable, and warned those that continued to stay home would be held accountable.
Meanwhile, there was still no news yesterday on the whereabouts of BTS president Mahdi Abu Deeb, who has reportedly been missing since last Friday.
It is believed he might have been arrested as part of a security crackdown.-TradeArabia News Service