Patna: Over four lakh contractual school teachers in Bihar on Monday, May 4, ended their 76 days long indefinite strike in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state government's assurances that they will look into the demands.
Manoj Kumar, a leader of the Bihar Rajya Shikshak Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti, said, “We have decided to end our indefinite strike following request and appeal by the state government in view of the coronavirus outbteak. We have agreed to end our strike on request of the government and requested government for a dialogue to fulfill our demands after lockdown.”
Bihar Madhyamik Shikshak Sangh president, Kedar Pandey, said that they have decided to end indefinite strike on Monday as the government agreed to listen to their demands. “The government has assured us that they will withdraw all actions taken against striking teachers and would pay the salaries of strike period to teachers,” he said. Sixty-four striking teachers have reportedly died during the strike period, which began on February 17.
"We are really upset as there is no reply from the office of the President of India Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We had written to both requesting to intervene to help over 4 lakh striking teachers and their families. But so far we have not received any response. This shows how helpless are school teachers," Manoj Kumar told NewsClick.
Also read: Bihar: Striking Contractual Teachers Approach NHRC Following No Response from President, PM
Bihar Secondary School Teachers’ Association (BSSTA) General Secretary Shatrughan Prasad Singh has demanded Bihar government to provide adequate compensation to the kin of teachers who have died during strike period. All striking teachers who died were reportedly under stress owing to the non-payment of their salaries and died of heart attack, brain haemorrhage and lack of proper treatment due to financial crunch.
The striking teachers were demanding equal pay for equal work and a return to the old pension scheme.
The contractual school teachers have been on the indefinite strike since February 17, the day class X examination by the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) started. The strike has reportedly badly affected teaching in schools. The strike call has been given by the Bihar Rajya Shikshak Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti, a joint platform of 26 school teachers’ associations.
Earlier this month, the state government had decided to pay salary only for the month of January to the striking teachers. Last month, Verma had warned the teachers that they would be marked absent and their salary would be deducted on the ‘no work no pay’ principle.