About two weeks after it suspended government school teachers for joining a strike against the state government pressing for their demands, the School Education Department has softened its position.
In a Government Order issued on Wednesday, the Director of School Education stated that many government teachers and government employees who were arrested by the police were suspended by the department. â€śKeeping in mind the welfare of the students of classes 10 and 12, who are going to face their public exams, all Chief Educational Officers are requested to consider reinstating the suspended teachers,â€ť reads the order.
It adds that reports on such actions taken by the Chief Education Officers be sent immediately to the School Education Directorate.
Government school teachers and other government employees went on strike on January 22, 2019 asking for the government to fulfill their demands related to job posting and pensions. The main demand in their nine-point charter was the rollback of the present Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) as it made it mandatory for employees to contribute a share of salaries to the pension fund. The employees wanted the government to go back to implementing the older pension scheme which did not mandate this.
However, the government refused to even engage with the striking employees and instead went on an offensive by recruiting temporary teachers to replace those absent from work. The strike also invited mixed comments from within the fraternity with one section justifying the strike and another section saying that the timing of the strike was not correct since board exams were around the corner.
The employees called-off their strike on January 31, eight days after they began, stating that they were relenting keeping in mind the exams of the students. The strike was called off two days after the state government offered a transfer for the teachers to the place of their choice.
However, as they called off the strike, an office bearer of the Joint Action Committee of Tamil Nadu Teachers Organisation â€“ Government Employees Organisation (JACTTO-GEO) said that the government made it seem like a financial issue, when in reality all that the employees were asking for are the money that are due to them.