Jordan orders closure of teachers union
Public school teachers gather for a demonstration demanding pay raises, at the Professional Associations Complex in Amman on October 3, 2019.
Amman - Several union leaders summoned for questioning after protests demanding pay hike
Jordan's judiciary on Saturday ordered a two-year closure of the teachers' union as part of an investigation into alleged graft, state media reported.
The move came three days after the Teachers' Association organised a demonstration attended by hundreds of protesters demanding the government honour a 2019 agreement for a rise in wages.
The government and the union, which represents 100,000 teachers, had reached the deal after a month-long strike over salaries.
The teachers had been demanding a 50-percent salary hike and had obtained raises ranging from 35 to 75 percent.
But in April, the cash-strapped government said it would freeze public sector raises this year, citing economic woes caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The teachers' union responded by calling for a demonstration on Wednesday, during which union leader Nasir Al Nawasra urged authorities to respect their promises.
On Saturday, Amman prosecutor-general Hassan Abdallat ordered a two-year closure of the headquarters of the Teachers Association, its branches and offices nation-wide, official Petra news agency said.
He also summoned members of the union's council for questioning on "criminal and corruption charges", Petra said.
Petra did not elaborate on the nature of the alleged "crimes" but quoted Abdallat as saying they included "financial violations".
The prosecutor also issued a gag order on investigations into the case, the agency said.
Earlier this month Jordan's King Abdullah II said his country had successfully brought the coronavirus under control and that it was time to focus on restarting the economy.
Jordan, which has so far recorded 1,154 cases of the virus including 11 deaths, imposed a tough curfew enforced by drones to stem the spread of the pandemic, before easing policies in early June.
The vital tourism sector, which brought in $5 billion last year, was battered by the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.