A Pro-Strike Demonstration yesterday
There is a general strike in India today affecting millions of government employees, including some teaching unions
Despite the fact that India has seen unprecedented growth in the last few years, 400 million Indians still live in absolute poverty, and the income gap between rich and poor grows exponentially. Schools are chronically underfunded and children and teachers often have to work in appalling conditions - particularly in rural areas.
The unions are demanding amongst other things - a curb on inflation, social security for the unemployed (at present there is virtually no social safety net in India), proper labour laws and an end to corruption. One issue which particularly affects teachers is the use of short term contracts
, which mean a fraction of government pay and crippling insecurity. An end to this practice is another demand of the strike.
As well as public service workers, banks and financial institution employees are on strike as well as those in the transport, energy and mining sectors.