Indian government fires hundreds of teachers as Tamil Nadu strike faces a crossroads
30 January 2019
Ongoing indefinite strike action by hundreds of thousands of Tamil Nadu teachers and government employees has reached a political crossroads. The strikers, who confront a massive state crackdown by the right-wing All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)-led state government, are being isolated by the unions.
On January 29, the government stepped up its attacks, dismissing 700 striking teachers and over 1,200 state government employees. Their positions have been declared vacant and will be filled by strike-breaking temporary staff, which the government began recruiting last Friday for a monthly salary of 10,000 rupees ($US140).
Teachers and other state government employees walked out on January 22 over nine demands, including abolition of a Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) and reestablishment of the previous government-funded pension system, as well as higher wages and improved working conditions.
These long-outstanding demands have been rejected from the outset by the AIADMK government, which has unleashed a range of repressive measures, including mass suspensions and dismissals, police arrest of strikers and protesters, and the recruitment of temporary teachers as strike breakers.
Tamil Nadu teachers and other government employees have made clear in protests across the south Indian state their determination to fight, but the Joint Action Council of Teachers Organisations-Government Employees Organisations (JACTTO-GEO), having been forced to under pressure from its members to call the strike, opposes any expansion of the industrial action.
By isolating the industrial action, the JACTTO-GEO, which covers hundreds of thousands of members, has…