Teachers in Benin are taking part in a general strike today and tomorrow against the repressive regime of President Boni Yayi. The strike has been called by all the main trade union groups in the country and amongst the demands are for workers in Benin to enjoy full political and democratic rights, for a restoration of the right to demonstrate and the guarantee of safety to all citizens. The strikers are also demanding that a 25% pay increase, agreed in 2011 and still not paid, be given to all public servants including teachers.

In November students were attacked by police with tear gas and live bullets, while protesting against a new fee imposition. At the end of December, a mass demonstration called by labour leaders, for the restoration of democratic rights, was brutally put down by the police with many serious injuries to the demonstrators.

In 2012 the teachers struck for many months, demanding the 25% increase owed to them and the issuing of permanent contracts to thousands of teachers who had no employment rights because, like so many others in the global South, they were being kept on temporary contracts. This strike also was brutally attacked by the government, with many arrests and injuries. At that time teachers' leaders said that Yayi was doing what he was instructed to do by the International Monetary Fund, 'We have become a sort of appendage of foreign powers', he said.

Now once again the government is threatening workers, in particular teachers, who take part in the general strike. The minister of education has warned teachers to work normally during the strike or face financial consequences. Meanwhile as the IMF reports that Benin is open for business and growth is at a healthy 5.4%, an estimated 46% of children are involved in child labour and almost 40% of the population live below the poverty line.