The wave of teachers' strikes continues in China as hundreds of middle school teachers struck this week in Shangdong Province. The teachers are demanding a pay rise - which they have not received for the last eight years, despite the fact that inflation has been a feature of the economy for those years - sometimes going as high as 9%. The teachers have also not received payment subsidies which were due to them.
At the end of last year, we reported the strikes in the Heilongjiang province over similar issues. Teachers there were also striking about long hours and, in particular, a new pension policy, which sees deductions being taken from teachers' salaries for the first time. This policy is now being rolled out throughout China and is likely to meet with stiff resistance - particularly as teachers are often the lowest paid public servants. Teachers in rural areas can earn as little as $400 a month after many years of service. The pension reform is likely to have the worst effects on these low paid rural teachers.
Teacher militancy is rising in China - according to one news site there have been twice as many strikes in 2014 as the year before with 82 recorded last year. As well as striking against low pay, they have also struck against poor working conditions and the introduction of performance related pay.