CHENNAI: Nearly 100 government elementary teachers have been hospitalised since they began their hunger strike on Monday. Teachers from all over the State have been pouring into Chennai since Monday, demanding revision of wages. By Tuesday evening, more than 5,000 had gathered in the city to join the protest. Since the start of the strike, nearly 100 teachers, mostly women staff, have been hospitalised after they fainted. Elementary school teachers, who were appointed after June 2009, are getting salaries much lower than their colleagues who were appointed only a few months before them. About 20,000 teachers, who were affected by the pay, demanded that the Seventh Pay Commission be implemented.
The protesters, who first gathered at the Directorate of Public Instruction (DPI) campus, were detained at Rajaratinam Stadium at Egmore and later moved to Valluvar Kottam. Opposition parties have expressed solidarity with the protesting teachers.In a statement on Wednesday, DMK working president M K Stalin said his party will offer support to teachers and their cause. CPM State secretary K Balakrishnan urged the State government to take immediate action to prevent further hospitalisation of teachers.
In a statement, School Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan said the government had already spent over Rs14,000 crore to improve teachers’ wages. “Only the one-man commission can draft further recommendations for fund allocation. Therefore, I request teachers to wait patiently and withdraw the hunger strike at this point,” he said. Director of Elementary Education R Elangovan visited the protesters on Wednesday evening.