Mongolian Teachers on Strike for Living Wage
A School Class in Mongolia
Teachers in Mongolia joined other workers last month in campaigning for a living wage
Members of the teachers' union joined other public sector workers including doctors, nurses and railway workers in taking strike action. Teachers in the north Asian country of Mongolia earn as little as $100 per month. Mongolia is a resource rich country with large deposits of copper as well as gold, coal, molybdenum, fluorspar, uranium, tin, and tungsten. A large part of this wealth goes into the hands of foreign mining corporations and as is so often the case the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has had a strong influence on its development. The government is led by one of the country's wealthiest men Batbold Sukhbaatar who has pledged to continue the pro-business policies of his predecessor.
Eearlier in April there were huge demonstrations in the capital against the unequal distribution of the country's mining wealth. One protestor said: "The authorities are selling Mongolian land to foreigners. The parties got our votes by promising a share of the country's wealth." There has also been widespread opposition to IMF prescriptions of privatisation and public spending cuts. In 2008 inflation in the country was running at 30% and it is still high - making it impossible for people to make ends meet.
Meanwhile children in parts of rural Mongolia have been facing cold and starvation due to this year's very severe winter with temperatures of minus 40 celsius and have had to rely on aid from the UN in order to survive the winter.