Teachers in Lebanon have said they will start an open-ended strike on June 7th if the government continues in its refusal to fund a promised pay rise. This is the latest stage in a long campaign for rises promised last year, to be paid in full and immediately. As well as striking, the Union Co-ordination Committee, which is organising the action, is planning sit-ins in government buildings. The campaign is being waged jointly by teachers and civil servants, who are also waiting in vain for the promised increase.

Teachers in the country often find it difficult to make ends meet, some have not had a pay rise for twenty years, yet the government continues to fail to find the money to pay them properly, partly under advice from the International Monetary Fund. Union leaders totally reject the idea that the rise should be financed by an increase in VAT which would have the greatest impact on the poor. Instead they are demanding that the government tax the rich. One banner on a demonstration last month read: 'Yes to amending salaries ... through bank and real estate profits, fighting smuggling, and taxes on seaside property.'

The strike will also affect the official end of year exams but teachers say they will make sure they go ahead as long as their demands are met.