Private schools' teachers of Sunsari district have hit the street to press for payment of their long due salaries.
Organized under the banner of Institutional School Teachers' Union (ISTU) Sunsari, around 300 teachers staged a street rally at Itahari on Friday. Addressing a corner meeting, teachers spoke against school operators and the government for their pending payment during the lockdown.
''We never demanded a fraction of the huge benefits that school operators gain. However, we just ask them to pay our salary,'' said Hemantamani Dahal, a teacher from Dharan.
Another teacher from Dharan, Jiten Tamang, said his salary is pending even before lockdown starting from March 14. ''My fellow teachers are demanding salaries of lockdown. I do not have a salary even three months before lockdown. I am unpaid for a half year'', lamented Tamang.
Another teacher Bidyabhusan Gupta said teachers would padlock all schools and their umbrella bodies if their salaries were not paid. ''It is not just a struggle for salary,'' said Gupta, adding, ''It is a struggle for survival of our families.''
Indira Sharma, the provincial member and the district Vice-President of ISTU, said private schools' teachers are enduring the most of unnecessary trouble. ''Some schools are willing to pay the pending salaries. However, we have learned that the umbrella organizations are pressuring them not to do so because if some schools paid all need to follow suit,'' said Sharma.
Ram Gautam, another speaker in the corner meeting, criticized school operators for being inhumane and cruel. ''If you can't make payments for your serving staff just for four months, better cease your educational business,'' Gautam said. He added, ''Even many teachers are afraid to voice their genuine demands fearing their dismissals. Do not fear. They cannot remove us on their will.''
Yagyaraj Shrestha, the president of ISTU Sunsari, said their further agitation would be concentrated on local governments of Sunsari. ''We have central committee pressuring federal governments and on local levels, we are making further plans to pile pressure on local governments,'' said Shrestha. He added, ''Our struggle is not just for teachers. It is also for all employees of the private schools.''