• Marrakesh

  • Wednesday, January 3, 2024 at 4:11 AM
    Last Update : Monday, January 15, 2024 at 4:54 AM

Morocco Urged to Solve Bookshop Owners’ Grievances after Resolving Teachers’ Strike

(AWP) - The crisis of teacher strikes in Morocco ended after the government signed an agreement with the main teachers' unions just days before the end of 2023. However, the challenges faced by sellers of books and school supplies are yet to be resolved.

Last week, Morocco’s ministerial commission entrusted with dialogue over modifying the basic system of national education sector employees signed a draft agreement with representatives of the main teachers’ unions regarding amendments related to the educational and financial aspects of employees in the sector.

According to a statement issued by the Moroccan government, the signed agreement aims to “activate a roadmap for reforming public schools on the ground, within the framework of the government dynamic that places the student at the heart of the reform process.”

The signing of the agreement ended protests by teachers that had lasted for months and threatened the continuity of the academic year.

However, Osama al-Wafi, treasurer of the Moroccan Association of Book Professionals, said the academic textbook sector, which was already suffering long before the crisis, is still at risk due to stagnation.

In statements to the Arab World Press (AWP), Wafi said, “Bookshops in Morocco were originally suffering from stagnation due to changes and a series of constraints and violations occurring in private education as well as some institutions selling books and supplies within the institution. The start of the school year was already disrupted in addition to the strikes that lasted for quite a long time.”

He added, “Some of the supplementary books were meant to be for two terms. The first term is over and we have not sold any of these books at all. So, what’s the solution? Next year, it’s possible that these books will change and will no longer be valid.”

Wafi called for a “consensual” solution to the crisis.

He said, “As bookshop owners are in the period of annual inventory, things are not entirely clear, but generally I can say that the person least affected by the strikes has still found himself losing more than 70% of sales compared to last year.”

The agreement came within the framework of the second round of dialogue between the government and union representatives after the first round in December 2023 resulted in an agreement to offer teachers a pay rise and resolved other pending issues and group-specific cases.

According to the agreement signed after the first round, a salary increase was approved for all teachers across their various categories and grades at a value of 1,500 Moroccan dirhams (roughly $151), to be added to their salaries in two equal instalments on January 1, 2024 and January 1, 2025.