Aden University employees continue protests for second week
Workers closed the University Presidency Gate in protest against their salaries, which are lower than their counteparts at Sana’a University.
The strikers also demanded the official hiring of almost 200 workers who have been working on contracts; this also occurs with employees at Sana’a University.
Yasser Basarda, the assistant general secretary of Aden University, challenged the employees and demanded proof that employees of Sana'a University have a higher salary by an estimated 50 percent, or even that they are officially hired.
Lutfi Bakhwar, the general secretary of the Aden University Employees Union, said the strike and the closing of the University Presidency will continue until their grievance is addressed.
“Our demand is the official hiring of 196 employees. The total number of employees is 600,” he said.
He went on to claim that their demands for positions of seniority, which are now held by teaching staff, had basis in “the laws of the university that disallow the academicians to be in charge of these positions.”
“We want to reorganise the university administration, just as is occurring at universities throughout Yemen,” he said.
Muheeb Shaef, information assistant in the Labor Syndicate at Aden University, said continuous inattention, as well as negative responses, have been clear. The managers and the university administration have threatened to force the employees to stop their strike despite its legal legitimacy, Shaef said.
Shaef said that the general secretary of the syndicate met with the syndicate's members in order to enter meaningful negotiation.
“We agreed that we will lessen the strike hours as long as our demands are met.”
He called on Prime Minister Mohammed Salem Basindwa to pay attention to the issues at Aden University. The syndicate demanded the prime minister, as well as the ministers’ council, create a ministerial committee to address problems at the university.
Basarda affirmed that there was an agreement Feb. 28, 2011, with regard to the supervising and administrative positions.
“The strikers demanded things that the university is unable to achieve,” he said. “The syndicate committee does not accept dialogue, and they show no cooperation.
“The majority of the members of the committees are from the syndicate. The committees' work started three weeks ago since the start of the protests. However, the syndicate rashly staged the strike.”
The syndicate held a public meeting in which a pool of employees and journalists were in attendance. The syndicate demanded in a statement that university leadership have a debate to prove who is right, either the university or the syndicate.
“If the university leadership proves right and the employees are wrong, we will immediately defer the strike,” the statement read. “If the opposite, they should instantly submit their resignation.”