Thu, 13 Apr 2000

Teachers wait for government response

TANGERANG (JP): Learning activities at state schools in Balaraja district resumed as normal again on Wednesday after 200 local teachers -- who had gone on strike at the House of Representatives the previous day -- went back to the class.

According to chairman of the Communication Forum of Balaraja Teachers (FKGB), whose members joined the Tuesday strike, their decision to return to the classrooms was done in the hope that House members would take their proposed demands seriously.

"We're now waiting for the results ... and for the time being, we have to continue teaching our students," Wildan, a teacher at a Balaraja junior high school, said.

He, however, did not disclose whether he and his colleagues would strike again should the House or the government refuse to meet their demands.

The strike at the House by the Balaraja teachers on Tuesday left hundreds of students of several state elementary, junior and high schools unable to attend classes.

Wildan said that their proposal for a 60 percent hike in salary, 500 percent increase in allowance and an overtime fee of Rp 5,000 per class had been directly handed over to the House deputy speaker Muhaimin Iskandar, who promised to submit the demands immediately to the government.

He said their demands could not be neglected any longer due to the increased cost of living.

"Our salary remains unchanged, while the daily necessities have gone up considerably," he said.

However, the teachers strike has drawn criticism from a local senior official.

"It is not necessary to conduct a strike. If they want to file demands or complaints, they could file those through their representatives, so that the learning activities won't be disrupted," said Ismet Iskandar, spokesman of the Tangerang regency. (41/asa)