“The government is facing financial constraints due to a cyclone on one hand and drought on the other,” the CM said, citing a difficult situation.

Govt facing financial constraints TN CM appeals to protesting teachers to end strike(Image for representation)
news Protests Saturday, January 26, 2019 - 09:33

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday asked protesting government school teachers and employees to end their ongoing agitation and return to work. He further cited financial constraints because of the ongoing rehabilitation works in districts affected by Cyclone Gaja and the drought-like situation due to monsoon failure, even as teachers continue to demand for rectification of payment anomalies.

The indefinite strike by the Joint Action Committee of Tamil Nadu Teachers Organisation- Government Employees Organisation (JACTO-GEO) this week has forced the government to look for temporary teachers as students walk into schools with no instructors. The association had previously submitted a seven-point list of demands, urging the government to annul the new pension scheme and revert to the old one, resolve 21-month pay arrears as per the new pay commission guidelines, sort out pay anomalies for secondary teachers and regularise jobs for part-time staff working at anganwadis.

"The strike by government employees and teachers in this difficult situation is unfortunate and painful. I appeal to them to end the agitation and return to duty," the chief minister said at a public meeting to commemorate the 'Language Martyrs Day'. He further alleged that Opposition parties were instigating the teachers with false propaganda. “In fact, they are being instigated by Opposition parties, which have been making a false claim that the state government is refusing to meet the demands despite having sufficient funds. In reality, the government is facing financial constraints due to a cyclone on one hand and drought on the other.”

The chief minister pointed out that 75% of the revenue earned by the government was already spent on salaries and pensions and only the rest is used for developmental and welfare schemes. Palaniswami said his government “will not remain a mute spectator to the problems faced by the people.”

“Teachers who are protesting must think about the quantum of salary being drawn by their counterparts in the private sector. I am not finding faults... I am just presenting the facts... I request the teachers to extend cooperation to the government. They are engaged in strike despite receiving a good hike in salary,” said the chief minister.

Meanwhile, the Madras High Court has directed teachers to resume work by January 25 in the interest of students, who were greeted with locked school doors. However, JACTO-GEO has decided to continue its strike. Earlier, Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan had warned government employees not to participate in the strike and said that doing so and affecting normal functioning of government offices would be a violation of the Tamil Nadu Government Servants’ Conduct Rules, and that such absence would result in pay cuts for those days.