Forced strike hits Sohar schools and offices

Muscat - 

Life continues to be affected in Sohar with many government institutions remaining shut due to a forced strike and school bus drivers staying away from work to press for a number of demands, including a revamped payment system.

The forced strike, which has been spearheaded by a small group of young private sector employees over the last two days, continued on Monday, crippling key institutions such as Sohar Development Office, and offices of the ministries of Housing, Social Development, Education, Manpower, and Commerce and Industry.

Zayed al Bashkardy, a Sohar resident, told Muscat Daily that the Ministry of Manpower office had a board hung outside saying the office is 'closed until further notice'. According to other residents, a group of around 20 people had entered various government offices on Sunday, and asked the employees to leave immediately.

 “My uncle was working at the stores of the Directorate-General of Education on Sunday when this group came in and asked him to leave,” Humaid al Beraiki said. “Most of the people who are forcing others to go on strike are from the private sector, who are seeking a hike in their salaries.”

The bus drivers' agitation, meanwhile, prevented many children from attending school. “It's been three days since we went to school,” said Aysha al Belushi, a Grade 11 student. “I passed the Directorate-General of Education building this morning and saw a long line of school buses parked nearby. We don't want to miss our classes but in my opinion, the bus drivers deserve to be paid more.” The bus drivers are demanding a consolidated monthly payment system, instead of being paid only for the days they work, and employment with the Ministry of Education.

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