Government cracks down on striking employees

Rejects demands citing funds crunch

The State government on Saturday rejected the demands of the striking employees and school teachers affiliated to the Joint Action Council of Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Organisations and Government Employees Organisations (Jactto-Geo), citing a funds crunch.

This left little room for negotiations with the council, which has spearheaded the strike for the past five days.

An early resolution to the stand-off that has impacted classes in government-run institutions appears unlikely. Leaders of Jactto-Geo have declared that their strike would continue till their nine-point charter of demands presented on January 22 are met.

Opposition leaders, including DMK president M.K. Stalin and CPI(M) State secretary K. Balakrishnan, have urged the government to hold talks with the striking employees.

Meanwhile, chief educational officers of various education districts in the State have begun issuing suspension orders to over 400 teachers, especially those at the forefront of the agitation. Many of the suspended employees have already been arrested and remanded in judicial custody. In Pudukottai district, 14 school teachers and one employee of a government department were suspended. In Tiruchi, five school teachers were suspended. In Erode, Salem and Namakkal, 95 teachers were given suspension orders.

Jactto-Geo coordinator Rangarajan charged that the government was trying to put down the protests instead of calling for talks. “We request the government to release our members and fulfil our demands,” he said.

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