The Joint action council of Tamil Nadu teachers organisation and government employees organisation ( JACTTO-GIO) which comprises almost 6 lakh teachers working in government schools across the county starting from nursery to Higher Secondary schools are on strike since January 22, reiterating their demands which they have been telling since the February of 2016.
Their seven demands include the revocation of the new pension scheme, the payment of arrears and the redressal of anomalies in the regularisation of service of some employees in certain positions which would cost a huge sum for the state government.
The general secretary of the organisation Anbarasu says that "We have not set any new demands, we are still pressing the demands we made during February of 2016 and the government is been dragging & buying time & we don't have a choice than announcing an indefinite strike until our demands are met"
He also added that they have been pushed to such a situation and even teachers are concerned about the studies of the students who are going to appear for board exams in less than two months.
The protests are happening across the state, around 420 teachers were arrested on Saturday and were also suspended under disciplinary action. The school education department director has also given a circular that all the protesting teachers have to join their duty on Monday, else their posts will be announced vacant and temporary teachers will be appointed by the department to conduct the lessons and department action will be initiated against the teachers who cross this order.
But protests also continued today in many parts of the States including Chennai where thousands of teachers were detained by the police for participating in the protest.
They demand that the state government and the chief minister should call them for talks to solve this issue, But the school education minister KA Sengottiyan says that 71% of the state's finances are already being spent on salaries and pensions of the government employees, chief minister Edapadi Palanisamy have also told that these protests are instigated by the opposition parties while the demand was one of the prime points in the AIADMK election manifesto for 2016 assembly elections.
Opposition party leader and DMK president MK Stalin had also criticised the EPS government for detaining and suspending the protesting teachers.
While this is the situation, over a lakh people have applied for the job of temporary teachers to replace the protesting ones.
Parents and students in few parts of the states also sat for protests in Erode district of Tamil Nadu against the protesting teachers. Parents demand that teachers should immediately come to schools and need to revise the syllabus as the board exams are approaching. They also say that the temporary teachers will not be able to revise the entire syllabus in a month & prepare students for the exams.
As the time is very crucial, the Madurai bench of Madras high court has asked the government that why didn't they have any talks with the associations to solve the issue, the court also had observed that the government is complicating the matter & they need to resolve the issue as the practical exams are yet to be on the month of February.
However, the JACTTO & GIO organisation have clearly told that they will continue the ongoing indefinite strike until they get a solution since they have compromised many times in the past, the onus is with the state government & the chief minister Edapadi Palanisamy as the issue is getting complicated at the eve of board exams.