An indefinite strike organised by the Joint Action Council of Tamil Nadu Teachers Organisations and Government Employees Organisations (JACTTO-GEO) is likely to see the participation of nearly 10 lakh government employees, including over 5 lakh teachers. As a result, government schools are expected to be shut from January 22, with teachers from 57 different associations taking part in the strike, as per a report by Sushmitha Ramakrishnan in the New Indian Express.
A release by the association stated that the strike will continue till the government meets their demands.
“This strike will see 100 per cent participation from elementary teachers as we will be most affected,” R Das, the State coordinator of Tamil Nadu Elementary School Teachers Association told TNIE.
The association had previously submitted a seven-point demand list 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 report states.
Besides this, secondary grade teachers who teach at government elementary schools have put forth a new set of demands, which have also been included by the association. The decision to use ‘surplus’ elementary teachers for new LKG, UKG classes that begin on January 21 has been opposed.
In a recent announcement, the School Education Department had said that it would be introducing 2,300 LKG and UKG classes in Anganwadis in government school campuses, as an alternative to parents who enrol their children in English medium private schools. “We also strongly oppose closing down or merging of schools with low enrolment. This will not only lead to large-scale dropout but also leave several teachers jobless,” said Das.
Das added that an estimated 3,500 teachers stand to lose their jobs and many more will be affected because of disproportionate distribution of workload.