8,000 teachers in Zhaodong city, Heilongjiang province have been striking since November 17th after two rounds of negotiations with the authorities failed.
Since November 14th, teachers have been discussing with authorities to obtain a salary raise and information on how funds collected for pension insurance are used. A teacher participating in the negotiations told the authors that during talks several hundred teachers gathered outside the city government headquarters to protest but violence did not break out. The authors could not confirm the number of teachers refusing to return to class, the local government claiming they were 750 while interviewees put the number as high as 6,800.
A teacher told the reporter that Zhaodong teachers’ monthly salary was 1000 yuan less than teachers in the surrounding impoverished counties. These counties have raised the levels of teacher’s salaries many times since 2006 but Zhaodong only began raising salaries in 2013.
The propaganda department answered saying that salaries were the same in Zhaodong and in surrounding counties and that the nominal difference was due to the fact taht in Zhaodong taxes and insurance payments were deducted monthly while in surrounding counties they were paid annually.
As for the issue on pension insurance funds, the vice-director of Zhaodong’s human resources and social security bureau, Zhao Shengli explained that since the 2006 pension system reform, pension funds could only be given back when need had been established and could not be given back all at once.