Teachers' union heads resign as strike continues

Teachers' union heads resign as strike continues
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Donia Al-Watan
The heads of the Palestinian Teachers' Union submitted their resignation Monday after a deal they struck with the Palestinian Authority to end a national strike last week was widely rejected by teachers.

The PA said Thursday it had reached an agreement with the union's heads to end a strike being carried out by teachers to demand the guarantee of their rights. Under the agreement, the PA said it would pay teachers money they are owed by the end of 2016.

However, teachers were reported to have widely rejected the deal and have vowed to continue their strike. There were unconfirmed rumors the union heads had accepted bribes from the PA.

The union's secretary-general, Ahmad Sahwil, told Ma'an via telephone that he and the secretariat general had submitted their resignations to Fatah's central committee and the Fatah-affiliated commission of popular organizations.

"If the union is an obstacle to an agreement between teachers and the Palestinian government, we have submitted our resignation now," he said. He added that they had not yet received an answer.

Fatah spokesperson Osamah al-Qawasmi confirmed their resignations had been received and said there would be elections in the near future to determine their successors.

It was not initially clear why the resignations were submitted to the Fatah movement, as opposed to the PLO, which represents a larger number of Palestinian factions.

The teachers' strike, which has gone on for days, has seen huge numbers of Palestinian teachers take to the streets, with almost 20,000 demonstrating in Ramallah on Tuesday last week alone.

Shortly after the demonstrations, sources inside the teachers' union told Ma'an that PA security forces had detained 22 Palestinian teachers taking part in the strike, including two school principals.