Chennai: In response to the Madras high court’s question as to whether the Tamilnadu State government was willing to hold talks with the protesters, advocate-general Vijay Narayan said that the many cases challenging the strike were pending and that talks with the unions were already held thrice, and so the state was not ready to hold further talks. The teachers and employees have been on indefinite protest since 22 January pressing nine-point charter of demands.
Narayan’s submission was made before Justice N Kirubakaran. When asked whether the Joint Action Committee of Teachers Organisations and Government Employees Organisations (JACTO-GEO) were willing to withdraw the strike and resume work at least till the exams are over, Advocate NGR Prasad representing the Unions said that they were ready to withdraw the strike if the government was ready to hold talks with them.
To this, Narayan submitted that on Monday 24.7% of teachers did not report to work, but on Tuesday it has come down to 9.89%. The situation is nearing normalcy. Narayan also added that the government has received three lakh applications for temporary teaching posts for government schools.
Justice Kirubakaran informed that the High Court was interfering in the issue considering the plight of the students and coming exams. The court said although the teachers’ demands seemed fair, other government employees who had joined the protest didn’t have good intentions; they were trying to blackmail the State. The judge then asked the government and the teachers to arrive at an amicable solution at the earliest.
Even after a division bench directed the protesting teachers to report to work by 25 January, the teachers refused to relent.
Subsequently, a Class 12 student of a government school in Chennai had earlier moved the court seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against the teachers, which was, however, declined. The court also observed that it was up to the government to take action against the teachers who failed to obey court direction.