On October 14,  teachers in dozens of cities throughout Iran went on strike by showing up at work but not entering their classrooms.  They demand not only survival wages and  benefits but also the release of imprisoned leaders and members of their union.  They also oppose discrimination in education,  and call for  free education for all,  as well as   the right of national minorities  such as Kurds, Arabs, Azaris,   to receive education in their respective mother tongue.  In some cities,  students have also expressed their solidarity with teachers.  Striking teachers have vowed to continue to stay away from classrooms until their demands are met.

 On May 10,  teachers throught Iran gathered  in front of the Ministry of Planning (inTehran) and offices of the Ministry of Education and Development (in 12 other cities) to express their demands.   They protested poverty wages, lack of funds for education,  now fee-based government educational services, demanded freedom for imprisoned teachers,  an end to repression.  One of their slogans was  “Bread, Work, Freedom,  Teaching Liberation.”  Their public statement included demands such as the right to form independent and free unions,  an end to discrimination and violence.

In Tehran,  the currently employed  and retired teachers (women and men) were attacked by security police and viciously beaten.  Fifteen were arrested of whom most were subsequently released on heavy bail.  As this website has noted, leaders of the teachers union remain in jail.

The signs displayed by teachers in this picture say "Sit in" and "Justice in education is a right."

More background on the teachers' actions and implications for teachers and their unions elsewhere in the world, can be found here.

By Frieda Afary