Lecturers strike over six months’ salary arrears

University teachers in Congo-Brazzaville have been on strike since September, claiming six months’ backpay which the government says it cannot pay because of the country’s economic crisis.

In the lecture halls of Brazzaville’s Marien Ngouabi University the desks, benches and boards are covered in dust, and grass was sprouting everywhere outside after the two-month shutdown, reported Radio France Internationale or RFI.

Gabriel Bissanga, joint union representative at the Marien Ngouabi University, said: “Nothing has advanced, we’re at a standstill. There are no negotiations with the government. We have submitted a file of charges and we’re waiting for the government’s solutions. Up to now there has been no response.”

RFI reported the authorities had not resolved the problem, the official reason being the country’s economic and financial crisis.

The students were also complaining and did not know what to do, reported RFI. “The situation has become really difficult, indeed unbearable because it’s not good for us to stay at home,” said one student who was on the university campus.

Another said, “It’s wretched for students to live through this because the fulfilment of every country depends on education and university, that’s the foundation.”

The strike at 11 public institutions started in September, eight months after the last one ended, reported RFI.

Bissanga said in September: “We demand our salary arrears; on 31 August, the workers of Marien Ngouabi University had six months of salaries unpaid. We also demand overtime and extra payments for the years 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18, and to that must be added time spent supervising dissertations and theses.” – Compiled by Jane Marshall

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