As members of the Joint Action Committee of Tamil Nadu Teachers Organisation- Government Employees Organisation (JACTO-GEO) are on an indefinite strike in the state, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to appoint teachers on a temporary basis to schools across the state. According to the Times of India, Pradeep Yadav, the School Education Secretary of Tamil Nadu, directed district-level officials to appoint retired teachers or qualified temporary staff persons. They would be paid a sum of Rs 7,500 per month. The newspaper reports that in an attempt to begin classes soon, the Parents Teachers Associations (PTA) have also been entrusted with finding temporary teachers.
As per the report, many government schools have had just two teachers per school. A letter reportedly written by the School Education Secretary said that temporary teachers may approach the local police station if they face obstruction from protesting teachers. The Madras High Court had directed teachers to resume work by January 25 in the interest of the students, who were greeted with locked school doors. However, JACTO-GEO has decided to continue its strike.
JACTO-GEO earlier said that 10 lakh members from 175 employees and workers unions from across the state will be a part of the strike. Their demands include reversal of the contributory pension scheme, payment of arrears according to the Pay Commissionâ€™s recommendations, increasing the salaries of secondary school teachers to be on par with the pay of their Central Government counterparts, etc.
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.
Earlier, Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan had warned government employees not to participate in the strike and said that participating in the strike and affecting normal functioning of government offices would be a violation of the Tamil Nadu Government Servantsâ€™ Conduct Rules, and that such absence would result in pay cuts for those days.