Strike: Govt says 95% teachers back to work, JACTTO-GEO demands talks, CM makes fervent appeal

The Joint Action Council of Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Organisations and Government Employees’ Organisations (JACTTO-GEO) denied the state government’s claim that 95 per cent teachers returned to work on Tuesday.

JACTTO-GEO reiterated that protests would continue until Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami invited them for talks. The School Education Department claimed that around 95 per cent of the protesting high school teachers and 70 per cent primary school staffs have returned to their job. In Chennai, 99.9 per cent teachers have returned to work and only four staffs did not come.

Chennai Chief Education Officer Thiruvalarchelvi, speaking to mediapersons at Egmore, said the appointment of the new teachers would be purely temporary. She said 99.9 per cent teachers in Chennai had returned to work and schools were functioning normally.

The official said show-cause notices had been issued to four teachers who did not show up for work in Chennai. JACTTO-GEO on Tuesday insisted on Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami calling its office-bearers for talks to end the ongoing strike by its members. However, the government refused to hold any such negotiations.

Appearing before Justice N Kirubakaran of Madras High Court, counsel for JACTTO-GEO N G R Prasad said, “Let the Chief Minister talk with us. The problem will be solved. This kind of impasse will not help anyone. We have genuine grievances. Our pay arrears have not been disbursed and there are serious pay anomalies. All these have to be sorted out.”

In his reply, Additional Advocate General (AAG) P H Arvindh Pandian told the court, “We are not calling anybody for talks and I am saying this on clear instructions.”

Meanwhile, Palaniswami Tuesday made a fervent appeal to government teachers and employees who are on strike over various issues, including payment of arrears, to resume work immediately in public interest.

Citing factors like drought, drinking water scarcity and the adverse effects of cyclone Gaja that struck Tamil Nadu in November, he said under such circumstances, rather than being “self-centric” it is “our duty to do people’s work with a sense of sacrifice and by relinquishing our rights sometimes”.