We stand in solidarity with the Teachers’ Syndicate of Jordan and its detained leadership. On 25 July, the Jordanian government ordered the union shut down and its 13 central council members arrested. The detained union leaders are currently on hunger strike in Jordanian prisons.

Jordan’s police raided the union’s headquarters in Amman on July 25th and shut down 11 of its branches across the country before arresting the 13 board members of the syndicate. Jordan’s Attorney General, who ordered the raids, also ordered a two-year closure of the union and the suspension of its central council. Under Jordanian law, a union can only be shut down by a court order or a vote of the membership, neither of which occurred in this case.

On August 1, an additional 27 local syndicate leaders were arrested from their homes. According to lawyers and witnesses on the ground, the raids and arrests were conducted in an unlawful and abusive way, without proper judicial warrants. Detainees were taken to undisclosed locations where their families could not locate them for days.

The detention of these 51 leaders is being justified by accusations of criminal wrongdoing that many view as politically motivated. Yet, even with pending criminal charges, there is no basis in the law for the shutting down of the syndicate. The dissolution of the union violates Jordanian law as well as international conventions to which the Jordanian state is a signatory.

The attack on the union – in which the minister of education has now attempted to appoint a replacement committee to serve in place of the union, with no real representation for teachers – comes in response to teachers’ widespread protests, heavily supported by the public, for a minimum standard of living, after the Jordanian government froze all public sector wage increases.

The attack on the union comes at the heels of the union’s successful 4-week campaign in September 2019, winning a wage increase agreement from the government, with extensive support from Jordan’s people. Jordan’s Teacher Syndicate was created in 2011 and stands as one of very few independent labor unions in the country and the only popularly elected, democratic body in the country.

The Jordanian government has extended the detained union leaders’ imprisonment without responding to their demands as they engage in a hunger strike ; however, people throughout Jordan have taken to the streets across the country to demand the release of the imprisoned union council and support the teachers’ demands. The widespread protests, especially the protests of the teachers themselves, have been met with harsh and violent police repression, targeting demonstrators with clubs and batons. At the same time, Jordanian officials have attempted to block media reporting about the situation, including sharing social media content.

We urge that the detained teachers’ union leaders be released immediately and that the Teachers’ Syndicate be restored to its proper and legal position representing the teachers of Jordan.


International Labour Network of Solidarity and Struggles