Teachers in Jordan are on an open-ended mass work strike since Sunday, leaving public schools deserted while private schools remain in session. The teachers, backed by the Jordan Teachers’ Syndicate, are demanding a pay increase – which had been promised to them five years ago – and protesting working conditions.

Thousands of teachers took to the streets of Amman wearing white caps and carrying placards and flags of Jordan, making their way to the prime minister’s office on Thursday, where police forces blocked the roads and clashes ensued. The JTS announced then a mass strike to start on Sunday, while the government responded with promises of negotiation as they urged the teachers to resume work.

After a meeting between the Vice-President of the Jordanian Teachers Syndicate and the Minister of Education and Chairman of the Parliamentary Education Committee took place Monday evening with no resolutions reached, teachers are continuing to strike, while parents began to raise concerns over the state their children are now in, with no classes running and their education on hold.

With an ongoing increase in national debt since 2011 – to around 90 per cent of the GDP, according to The National – the government is resisting the pay raise demanded by teachers and asking for negotiations. However, the JTS explained to news sources that they have been patient and had given enough time to the government to provide solutions, with no changes happening for five years.