MADAGASCAR: University lecturers' strike ends

The long strike in Madagascar by university lecturers and researchers ended on Monday, following negotiations between their union, SECES, and the Minister of Higher Education, Athanase Tongavelo.

L'Express de Madagascar reported that representatives of SECES from the country's six universities ended a three-hour closed meeting with the minister, having gained some of their demands.

After the meeting Tongavelo announced they had reached a consensus, and said he would present the agreement to the government and other relevant authorities for its adoption that day.

L'Express reported the union's claims for research and 'risk' allowances were included in the agreement.

"It's not the full research allowance we were asking for that has been accepted, but it is compensated for by the risk allowance. The minister gave us his word he would settle the problem as soon as possible, as a government meeting is taking place today and he will put the decision before government members," said Armand Rasoamiaramana, SECES collegiate president.

Rasoamiraramana said the lecturers would now return to work: "We will leave a little time for the students to revise before starting examinations," he said.

SECES leaders called the strike in early November 2010, claiming overtime payments and research allowances, and the resignation of the minister who it said had defamed them with accusations that they had lied about their remuneration.

After more than two months of squabbling, the minister and SECES representatives started secret talks on Saturday last weekend, reported L'Express. The agreement was made during their second meeting, on Monday.

The university gates have reopened, reported L'Express. But the Vice-president of Antananarivo University, Jean-Eric Rakotoarisoa, said access would be controlled:

"For the security of the campus there will be checks on cards of students, teachers and other personnel at each entrance. So persons with access to the interior of the university will be restricted," he said.

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original report.