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UP: Govt Teachers to Protest in Lucknow on Dec 11 for Old Pension Scheme, Higher Pay Scale

Teachers' unions have been organising meetings at the district level across the state to mobilise teachers and other government employees.

Lucknow: Government school teachers from across the state once again are gearing up for a protest in the state capital regarding various demands, including restoration of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS), compensatory leave for repeatedly opening schools on Sundays and holidays, cashless treatment, upgraded pay scale, promotions, etc.The teachers accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of adopting a dictatorial attitude and warned of consequences in Lok Sabha elections, which are scheduled to be held in 2024. 

Under the leadership of Uttar Pradesh Primary Teachers Association, Uttar Pradesh Teachers Association, Uttar Pradesh Secondary Teachers Association Thakurai faction and Uttar Pradesh Secondary Teachers, a large number of teachers are expected to join the protest on Tuesday. 

State president of the Thakurai faction, Jagdish Pandey Thakurai, told NewsClick, "The ruling government wants to privatise education. In such a situation, we need to organise and fight systematically."

The teacher unions have been organising meetings at the district level across the state to mobilise teachers and other government employees to join the protest in Lucknow on December 11.

"The ruling BJP government probably forgot that pride comes before the fall. The old pension scheme will be a key issue during the 2024 Lok Sabha polls," Ram Pratap Singh, a teacher in Gorakhpur, told NewsClick. 

He further added they have been demanding that privatisation and contract-based holding in government schools' offices and the health department be abolished. Teachers should not be assigned non-academic tasks. "We have also demanded that the government immediately fill the vacant posts lying for years and constitute the 8th Pay Commission immediately.”

President of Primary Teachers Association, Dinesh Chandra Sharma, under whose leadership dozens of protests were held in Lucknow for OPS, speaking to NewsClick, said that the condition of teachers in Uttar Pradesh is worse than bonded labourers. He said, “More than teaching tasks, we engage in non-teaching work by authorities. Whenever they want, they open schools and call teachers for duty, and we can not say no," Sharma alleged. 

He said that departmental and government officials are only giving assurances on the pending demands of teachers for many years, but not resolving them.

Tiwari further said, "In view of the Lok Sabha elections, the government should look at the demand for OPS as a political issue. The employees are very angry. If the government fails to restore OPS, the employees have the power to change the government. The employees will support only those who promise to bring OPS and fulfil other genuine demands."

A series of protests were held in Lucknow, demanding restoration of the old pension scheme and cashless treatment, upgraded pay scale, promotions, etc. 

Recently, Uttar Pradesh ministerial collectorate employees from across the state held a protest demanding time-bound action on their 22 demands, including restoration of the OPS, increase in pay grade and other facilities.

In June, thousands of teachers, pensioners and employees from the Central and state departments from various sectors, including Railways, postal services, public works, education, and electricity, organised the ‘Hunkar Rally’ in Lucknow.

"We will protest till our demands are met. When Congress ruling states can restore OPS and accept other demands, why not the BJP government? OPS is our only support in old age," Ratnam Tiwari, a teacher in Bahraich who will reach Lucknow on December 11, said. 

Meanwhile, the Yogi Adityanath-led government has once again made its stand clear on the restoration of the old pension scheme. On behalf of the government in the Legislative Council, Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Minister Gulab Devi said that "it is not possible to implement the old pension scheme". Gulab Devi was answering the question of teacher leader Dhruv Kumar Tripathi.  

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