Aden: A Hub for Strikes and Protests

2023-09-12 12:54 PM UTC


Teachers and university lecturers in Aden have begun a strike this week, and government hospitals' staff have warned they will follow suit. The strike in the education and health sectors forms a new trouble for a city that has been beset by infighting, power outages, and the influx of African migrants.

Today, the staff at Aden University commenced their strike, demanding the government take action to improve their living situation. The University Staff Syndicate said in a statement that the Presidential Leadership Council, the internationally recognized authority in Yemen, has ignored their demands, prompting them to go on a strike.

On Sunday, September 10, public school teachers went on a strike, rejecting the Aden-based Finance Ministry's decision to transfer their salaries to commercial banks instead of the Post Office. This decision has sparked the ire of thousands of employees in Aden.

Today, public schools are vacant as teachers insist that the government should reverse its decision. According to teachers, salaries' disbursement through banks causes them suffering because of the limited number of banks and their branches in Aden.

Abdul Kareem, a 32-year-old mathematics school teacher in Khor Maksr of Aden, told Sheba Intelligence that he does not want to receive his salary from banks where employees and other customers will crowd to collect their money. "The government's resolution to disburse our salaries through banks is a problem, not a solution. Instead of creating solutions for the population in Aden, the government is creating troubles," Abul Kareem said.

The staff in public hospitals in Aden displayed the same concern, saying that transferring their salaries to commercial banks was not the right decision. A statement by the Health and Medical Staff Syndicate in Aden said they will begin a two-hour strike on September 17, and an all-out strike will start on September 20.


Finance Ministry’s justification

The Aden-based Finance Ministry says the transfer of salaries through banks is part of the financial reforms that will be implemented. It said in a circular that disbursing public employees' wages through banks is a step towards achieving effective and efficient financial management that provides a quality service to employees.

The ministry recommended seven commercial banks that employees can approach, and they are the National Bank of Yemen, Cooperative and Agricultural Credit Bank, Al-Kuraimi Islamic Microfinance Bank, Al-Tadhamon Bank, Shamil Bank of Yemen and Bahrain, Al-Qutaibi Islamic Microfinance Bank and Aden Microfinance Bank.

However, this decision will negatively influence the operation of the Post Office. According to a statement by the Syndicate of Post Office Employees in Aden, it may lead to the stoppage of the Post services. The Syndicate indicated that transferring public employees' salaries through banks affects the post's legal and constitutional duties as a national financial institution. Presently, the Post Office has 16 branches in different districts of Aden.


A string of protests

While government employees in Aden go on strikes to express their demands, the city's population always opts for protests. This has made Aden an epicenter for strikes and protests.

On Monday, September 11, a rally of young people gathered in the Crater district, calling for better living conditions and services, particularly electricity. Fawaz Ahmed, a resident of Crater in Aden, told Sheba Intelligence that the government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) have failed to fulfill the people's needs in Aden year after year.

He added, "The STC says it is the representative of the southern people, and the government says it is the legitimate authority in Yemen. They compete for power but do not prioritize finding solutions to our problems."

On August 22, hundreds of protestors took to the streets in Aden, denouncing the repeated electricity outages the city has been witnessing. They blocked roads in Khor Maksr, Sheikh Othman, and Almualla districts, clashing with the southern separatist fighters. Local reports said that three protestors were injured.

Since its formation in 2017, the STC has been fighting over power with the Yemeni government, and this power struggle has brought misery to the southern people, especially in Aden. Services provided by government sectors, including health, security, education, and electricity, have deteriorated, and civilians' ordeal keeps magnifying. That is the reason Aden has been a hub of strikes and protests.