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Hunger strike continues

40 primary teachers fall sick

photo by NN Photo

About 40 primary assistant teachers fell ill on second day of their hunger strike for removing pay discrimination. This photo was taken from central Shaheed Minar on Sunday.

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Staff Reporter :
At least 40 primary school teachers fell sick on the second day of their hunger strike against a 'discriminatory pay scale' at the Dhaka's Central Shaheed Minar.
Of them, at least 10 have been admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital for treatment and others were given primary treatment.
The hospitalised teachers are Siddiqur Rahman, Abu Taleb, Saleha Akter Mukta, Rafiqul Islam, Abdur Rahim, Ekhlasur Rahman,  Firoze Alam, and Md Alauddin.  The identity of the two teachers could not be known immediately.
The assistant teachers of the government primary schools under the banner of Primary Assistant Teachers Okiya Jote started the indefinite hunger strike on Saturday.
The agitating teachers from across the country swore to continue the strike until the pay disparity is washed away by elevating the trained assistant teachers to grade 12 under the wage board.  "There is a three-tier gap between the assistant teachers and head teachers. We have been asking for an elevation for more than three years now," said Shahinur Akter, President of National Primary Assistant Teachers Foundation.
This gap prevails despite trained head teachers and trained assistant teachers having similar education qualifications, said Md Anisur Rahman, President of Bangladesh Primary Assistant Teachers Union.
 "The gap was not there till 1984," he said. "Now the trained head teachers get wages under grade 11 while we are paid our salary under grade 14.
 "It implies that the head teachers will start jobs with grade 12, but the assistant teachers will end with that. This means, after working for 16 years, assistant teachers will get Tk 11,300 a month under grade 12. This is humiliation."
Shahinur Al Amin, President of Bangladesh Primary Teachers Society said, "Earlier we formed human chains, staged demonstration and held several meetings with the ministers. But the administration didn't pay any heed to us, forcing us to go to hard line."  On December 9, the assistant teachers threatened to go on fast-unto-death from December 23 if their jobs were not upgraded to 11th as per the eighth national pay scale by December 22. But their demand was not met by then.

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