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China’s teachers continue the fight for decent work

01 June 2016
Protest in Hengyang over wage arrears
Rural teachers protest poverty-level wages

Hundreds of elementary and middle school teachers went on strike for two days in mid-May in Tongcheng county, Hubei, protesting abysmally low pay. Teachers from across the county held a sit-in at the county government building, stretching protest banners across the front gate. Police arrived on the scene though no confrontation occurred.

In an open letter, the teachers listed ten grievances, ranging from a lack of rural area subsidies to under contribution of social insurance. Their central complaint, however, was their shockingly low wages. Several teachers circulated their banking receipts showing their take home pay for the previous month was as low as 300 to 500 yuan.

A Radio Free Asia interview with Tongcheng teachers revealed that the situation was even worse for younger teachers, many of whom had not received medical insurance cards and relied on money borrowed from their parents just to get by. 

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