Teachers in the Maldives are continuing their fight for pay justice. The teachers struck in April by wearing black to school, despite threats from the government if they went ahead. As a result of the strike the government promised to improve their pay within two months. However since then there has not even been a meeting with the teachers' leaders to discuss a way forward. As a result 99% of members polled said there should be another strike. Although the government is trying moral blackmail by saying that closing schools will hurt children's education, the teachers point out that schools were unexpectedly closed during the fast of Ramadan - a decision which worried teachers greatly.

As in so many countries, teachers' pay in the Maldives is considerably worse than that of other public employees or other people with similar qualifications. An experienced graduate teacher's pay in the islands is about $600 a month, not enough to live in the capital, and teachers often have to supplement their salaries by taking on private tuition after school.

The president of the Maldives Teachers Association told reporters: "We are not only protesting to increase our poor salaries and allowances. This is also about improving the resources that are made available to teachers and schools. Also, we urge the government to find qualified and talented teachers. Student development depends on efficient teachers, resources and the teacher's satisfaction and motivation."

The Maldives main source of income is tourism, but this has dropped in recent years. The International Monetary Fund initially lent the government funds to tackle the budget deficit but has now withdrawn their help. It is recommending its usual prescriptions - cutting public spending and in particular the public sector wage bill - in other words they are suggesting that teachers are paid even less.

There will be a mass gathering of teachers on August 8th to decide on further action.