Mongolia: FMESU demand just and fair salaries for teachers and education support personnel

published 17 April 2023 updated 19 April 2023

Thousands of education workers answered the call of the Federation of Mongolian Education and Science Unions (FMESU) and peacefully demonstrated on April 6th in Mongolia's capital Ulaanbaatar to demand increased salaries for teachers and education support personnel.

More than 5,000 FMESU members from preschool to secondary school, from scientific institutions to vocational education facilities, and universities gathered at the Sukhbaatar Square to demand fair and better implementation of the collective agreement on the salary increase agreed in 2022.

Education International (EI) member organisation in Mongolia FMESU submitted a threefold demand to the Parliament, to the Ministry of Education and Science, to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and to the Ministry of Finance:

  1. Implement Article 2.1 of the collective agreement and increase the basic salary of employees in the education and science sector by at least 50 percent from April 1st, 2023.
  2. Change the classifications and ranks of positions, increase the rates and number of allowances and additional wages by considering the specificities of positions and working conditions of the employees of the education and scientific sectors.
  3. Implement Clause 2.3.14 of the Government's 2020-2024 Action Programme and provide State-owned universities with fixed expenses.

FMESU requested that the government respond to the demands by April 10th, 2023, and announced that they were ready to go on strike until the demands are met.

According to the governmental resolution 488 regarding the update of the salary range and minimum range of specific civil officers, education support personnel salary is only increased by 15,000 Mongolian Tugrik (5 USD), the public authorities said.

The Government insisted that, according to its Resolution 491 on the additional salary of the public administration employees and the increase in the length of service of the public service employees, the education workers’ pay is linked to the number of years in service. However, this salary increase is not applicable to teachers with more than 25 years of teaching.

FMESU criticised the fact that this decision had been made solely by the Government without consultation with the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions (CMTU), which represents one of the parties to the tripartite agreement of the social council.

The union also deplored that the rising cost of commodities, inflation, big class sizes, increasing workload, and shortage of education personnel, mean that the current salaries that teachers and education support personnel receive are deeply insufficient. It also recalled that the basic minimum salary for ESP in Mongolia is of 565,000 Mongolian Tugrik equivalent (161 USD)/month as of January 2023.

EI campaign “Go Public! Fund Education”

FMESU is joining the Education International (EI) recently launched “Go Public! Fund Education” campaign, an urgent call for governments to invest in public education, a fundamental human right and public good, and to invest more in teachers, the single most important factor in achieving quality education.

EI brings its full supports FMESU and education workers of Mongolia in demanding better salaries and working conditions.

We urge the government of Mongolia to respect the collective agreement signed with FMESU, stressed EI General Secretary David Edwards.

Deploring that teachers are overworked and overburdened and many of our colleagues are leaving the professions as a result, he, adding: “Teachers stood behind governments and their students during the pandemic and ensured that teaching and learning continued. It is high time governments acknowledge and guarantee that the teachers and education support personnel have decent working conditions, decent and fair wages, as well as adequate professional support and development.”