Chennai, January 14: Tough days are coming ahead for the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswani as around 10 lakh government employees, including over 5 lakh teachers, will be participating in an indefinite strike organised by Joint Action Council of Tamil Nadu Teachers Organisations and Government Employees Organisations (JACTTO-GEO). All the government schools are most likely to be remain shut from January 22, with teachers from 57 different associations extended their support for the strike.
Seeking the fulfilment of their seven-point demand, the JACTTO-GEO has clearly stated that the strike would continue indefinitely, starting from January 22. The release said, as The New Indian Express quotes, “The strike will continue till government meets our demands.” BEST Bus Strike in Mumbai Enters Seventh Day, Commuting Nightmare Continues as Red Buses Remain Off Roads.
Earlier, pressing their demands, the association had sought the government to repeal the new pension scheme and revert to the old one, settle a 21-month pay arrears according to the new pay commissions guidelines, settle pay anomalies for secondary teachers and regularise the jobs of part-time staff and teachers working at Anganwadis. However, all these demands went unheard, alleges the association.
Along with the above demands, the association in their list added the point of Secondary Grade teachers, who teach at government elementary schools. The teachers' body – Tamil Nadu Elementary School Teachers Association – had objected the state government’s decision of using use ‘surplus’ elementary teachers for new LKG, UKG classes that start on January 21. Expressing his opinion on behalf of the association, State coordinator R Das said, as the daily quotes, “This strike will see 100 per cent participation from elementary teachers as we will be most affected.”
The state government’s School Education Department in its previous order had announced to introduce 2,300 LKG and UKG classes in Anganwadis in government school campuses, with an aim to offer an alternative to those parents who put their children in English medium private schools.
However, Das opines that this move will not help in more enrollment of children in schools, but leave several teachers jobless. According to Das, around 3,500 teachers will lose their jobs, and many more will be affected because of the asymmetric distribution of workload. Also, this would amount to lesser participation from higher and higher-secondary teachers, as schools would have revision tests ahead of public exams.
Claiming massive participation from the teachers all across the state, PK Ilamaran from JACTTO-GEO said, “We estimate that over 5 lakh teachers will participate. Teachers from lower classes have hurried the syllabus to ensure the least effect on children.”
Though there is still speculation on the number of other government staffs from the secretariat supporting the strike. However, it is expected that four lakh government employees (excluding teachers) will participate in the strike.