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30 Oct 2003 09:43
Pupils at state schools in the west African state of Guinea Bissau resumed classes on Wednesday for the first time in two years after teachers called off a strike over back pay.
The union decided on Tuesday to call off the marathon stoppage after a meeting with Guinea-Bissau President Henrique Rosa.
Classes have been disrupted for two successive school years over teachers’ union claims for up to seven months back pay and more than a year of bonuses.
Union president Vincent Mendes said after the meeting the resumption of classes had depended on the role of the previous government of former president Kumba Yala, overthrown last month in a military coup.
The teachers’ leader told journalists the former government had “refused to respect commitments towards the teachers.”
The teachers say the World Bank has undertaken to pay 70% of the outstanding pay owed and the government the remaining 30%.
Interim Prime Minister Antonio Artur Sanha presided over an official ceremony in one of the nation’s high schools to mark the return to normal classes. - AFP
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