Pensions: nearly 40% of teachers on strike

On Thursday, January 19, 2023, the Ministry of National Education announced that 38.5% of teachers were on strike in protest of the pension reform, with 42.35% in the first degree and 34.66% in the second degree. This figure is lower than the 47% reported during the strikes against the previous reform in December 2019.

The main secondary education union, the SNES-FSU, reported a “majority” strike, with 65% of teachers, senior education advisors, National Education psychologists, educational assistants, and accompanying students with disabilities on strike. This is lower than the 75% reported in December 2019.

The union noted that some establishments and colleges had peaks of more than 80% of strikers, and that the professions are demanding and exhausting both physically and mentally. This has led people to be “obliged to postpone their retirement in the face of an unbearable alternative: to work longer in very difficult conditions or to leave between the ages of 64 and 67 with a reduced pension.”

The SNUipp-FSU reported 70% of strikers in the first degree, with school teachers having an obligation to declare themselves 48 hours before the strike to allow for a minimum reception service.

Unlike 2019, all the unions are in this movement, and a meeting is scheduled for the end of the day to decide on the follow-up to the mobilization. There will most likely be other strike movements in the weeks to come, as well as torchlight processions and mobilizations on Saturdays that involve parents and students.

The question of salaries is also adding to the dissatisfaction of teachers, while the Minister of National Education, Pap Ndiaye, received the unions on Wednesday evening to launch the timetable for negotiations on remuneration. A first meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday. Several movements of high school students and student organizations have also called to participate in the day of action against the pension reform.

Overall, the movement against the pension reform is being followed in National Education, but the mobilization is lower than in 2019. This is an important issue that will continue to be addressed in the weeks to come.