Striking Tamil Nadu teachers denounce state and central governments
Sasi Kumar and Nanda Kumar
25 January 2019
Tamil Nadu teachers spoke with WSWS reporters in Chennai, the state capital, during their indefinite state-wide strike this week. On Tuesday around 700 strikers demonstrated outside state government offices in the Ezhilagam building. Almost 3,000 protested near the District Collector Office on Thursday, the third day of the strike.
Nelson, 55, rejected claims by the state education minister that the government could not pay teachers’ salary arrears because of the so-called fiscal deficit.
“But judges, IAS and IPS [Indian public service and police] officers were paid 21-month arrears by the pay commission,” he said. Nelson denounced India’s major political parties. “Both the Congress and the BJP pursue the same economic policies,” he said. “The Modi-led BJP government is pushing harder to implement anti-labour policies…
“The CPM-led state governments also pursued the same economic reforms in favour of the rich. The ‘Left’ government in West Bengal even went to the extent of killing the farmers in Nandigram for refusing to give up their land to the investors. That government lost power in West Bengal because of its anti-labour stand.”
Thamil [photo], 53, another teacher, said teachers’ living conditions were deteriorating every day. “My family’s economic situation is very bad,” she said. “I can’t afford to send my children to better quality private schools and so they go to the public schools. And when I fall sick I try go to a private hospital but if we face a major illness that involves a lot of money, then I go to the government hospital.”
Commenting on strike action by US teachers, she said: “I heard…