UP: Govt Teachers to Protest for OPS Restoration and Other Demands in Phased Manner
Government employees under the banners of Gujarat State Employees Mahamandal and Gujarat State United Employees Front participate in a protest march over various demands including restoration of the old pension scheme, in Rajkot, September 11, 2022. Image Courtesy: PTI
Lucknow: Even though the Centre has reportedly informed Parliament that it is not considering scrapping the New Pension Scheme (NPS), Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (RSM) — a national union of primary school teachers — has called for a protest in a phased manner across the state, starting from Saturday, June 3. It will culminate in the first week of November with the 'Paidal March' to Vidhan Sabha and a one-day strike.
Some of the long pending demands of the teachers’ union include the implementation of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS), cashless medical facility, no more non-academic work, respectable honorarium to shiksha mitras/instructors, 11 months’ payment to rasoiyas or cooks, and allocation of the 6% of the GDP to the education sector, among others.
In the last few years, state employees and primary school teachers have held multiple protests demanding the restoration of OPS in the state capital Lucknow.
In November 2021, a massive rally took place in the state capital Lucknow, where tens of thousands of state employees gathered for the first time to protest against NPS supported by the Yogi Adityanath government.
The protesting teachers also raised a flurry of demands including regularisation of contractual employees, increment for the employees as per the earlier pay commission, and the release of DA instalments and arrears.
Virendra Mishra, national spokesperson of RSM, speaking to NewsClick, said that Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh governments, as per the promises made before the elections in the states, have scrapped the contributory pension scheme and reverted to the old pension scheme. The protesters demand that the UP government follow their lead.
The RSM also demands that the outsourcing of teaching be stopped and the teachers appointed on a contract basis under various schemes of the Union government be made permanent in the available vacancies, the union leader said.
Dinesh Chandra, president of the primary school teachers’ association, said that the government should provide them with a cashless facility of up to Rs 5 lakh – which it gives to the state government employees free of cost.
According to RSM, the teachers are overburdened with non-teaching work such as buying food items for the preparation of midday meals, purchasing and distributing sweaters, dresses, bags and shoes, working as booth level officers (BLOs) during elections and participating in programmes like census and polio drive. This leaves them unable to concentrate on improving teaching quality.
The union said, in its last phase, it will also raise the issue of midday meal cooks preparing meals for children for 11 months but being paid an honorarium for only 10 months.
"The cooks are underpaid. Shiksha mitras do the same work as government teachers and should be paid equally. Their posts should be regularised, and the pending dues released," the union leader said.
According to the union, around 10 lakh teachers from across the state will join the protest to mount pressure on the government to restore OPS and fulfil other demands.
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