Wage structures: Teachers protest, Hunger Strike & Dharna (Sit-in) in Lahore
Lahore Punjab Assembly Faisal Chowk: Members of the Punjab Teachers’ Union on Thursday staged a protest demonstration in front of the Punjab Assembly against the Education Department for turning a deaf ear to their demands even after a notification from the Lahore High Court in their favour.
The teachers from public schools regretted that even after winning the case in the High Court they had been denied relief by the government. They said they will stage a ‘sit-in’ and a ‘hunger-strike’ from 9 am to 1 pm every Tuesday until their demands were accepted.
The union wants the Education Department to revise more primary school teachers from BS-10 to BS-16, middle school teachers from BS-15 to BS-17 and secondary school teachers from BS-17 to BS-18.
Atiqur Rehman, an elementary school teacher, said that the teachers had taken their concerns to the Education Department several times, but had to return without any results. He said the government was not bothered at all. He said more than 1,500 teachers were being affected and forced to protest. “If they had paid any attention to our demands, things would have been much better,” he added.
Malik Saeed Ahmad, the Punjab Teachers’ Union president, said that the government was taking the court orders lightly. He said it was distressing to see how the government was treating the teachers and the courts.
The High Court, he said, had approved revision of allowance for thousands of teachers but the government had not paid a single teacher.
The protesters also condemned the government’s reported decision to sack teachers in the rural areas who had no academic qualification beyond matriculation.
Sajda Rahim, a teacher, said there were many such teachers. “They have been efficiently serving for years,” she said. Shaista Moin, a sports teacher, said, “The government had never taken any decision in our favour. Public school teachers are always taken for granted.”
Muhammad Mushtaq Siyal, from the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, showed ignorance of the teachers’ demands. He urged them to bring them to the chief minister’s attention.
The union leaders said they planned to continue the protest till Thursday next.
(Published in “Express Tribune: on March 11, 2011)