With government school teachers in Tamil Nadu on strike for almost a week, the state government cracked down and suspended around 450 staff members on Saturday. Many teachers were also arrested for holding demonstrations during the strike.
According to the Times of India, the crackdown is set to continue, with the government initiating disciplinary action against the teachers under the relevant provisions of the law. Meanwhile, the government had also called for appointing temporary teachers in place of those on strike.
The strike, which began on January 22, was to press the government to fulfil demands in the nine-point charter framed by the members of the Joint Action Committee of Tamil Nadu Teachers Organisations- Government Employees Organisations (JACTTO-GEO). One of their major demands is to roll back the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), introduced by the government, and a pay raise.
The strike has affected the functioning of schools across the state.
On Saturday, Tamil Nadu Minister for Fisheries D Jayakumar said that government teachers and employees must not protest with demands that cannot be fulfilled by the government. Referring to the major demands of the two organisations, Jayakumar said that implementing the old pension scheme will result in bankrupt the government, and that an expert committee that had studied the proposal had also rejected it. Employee salary and pensions would have to be paid borrowing money, leaving nothing for welfare schemes for the poor, he said.
Referring to the demand for a pay hike for the teachers at par with what is offered by the central government, Jayakumar said that this was not possible since it would mean that the pay for other cadres would also have to be raised accordingly, which would affect pay parity amongst government employees.
However, leaders from different political parties have urged the government to hold talks with the striking teachers and end the strike.
(With inputs from IANS)