Letter of solidarity
Below is a letter of solidarity from Joe Higgins, Socialist Party Member of the European Parliament (MEP), to the teachers’ union in Lebanon, whose members are taking strike action on Wednesday 16 June. The teachers’ action, in defence of pay and conditions, shows the way forward for workers’ unity.
I write to express my support for the struggle of the Teachers Association.
From what I understand, the teachers have been facing a series of attacks on conditions and pay, with an increase in contractual teachers in the last few years. The union has been struggling for equal rights and defending pay and conditions for all teachers, showing the way forward for workers’ unity and against sectarian divisions in a divided country. Your inspiring struggle is an example for workers across the region and internationally, having stood determined in the face of an outrageous assault on workers’ rights.
Your struggle against this attack is absolutely just. Your use of the tactic of a united struggle with strikes and protests outside the Parliament building seem to me to be important tactics to force the government to back down. I will use my position in the European Parliament to try to publicise your cause.
I have watched the growing struggles of many workers in the Middle East with great interest. Workers like yourselves have enormous power to win victories when you take collective action. One of the features of these struggles in my opinion is the need for strong independent trade union organization to spread the struggle to the rest of the public sector which is also under threat and which looks to your struggle to gain confidence.
The government knows about and fears your strength as a determined union, and will therefore try to divide the rank and file membership through pressure and by undermining your cause. I and my colleagues around the world in the Committee for a Workers’ International call upon your association to appeal to all workers and students in the public sector for solidarity and will do everything we can to assist your struggle.
Please contact us with further information and let us know how we can assist you.
Joe Higgins MEP (www.joehiggins.eu)
Socialist Party (Ireland) www.socialistparty.net
Committee for a Workers International (www.socialistworld.net)