Teachers protested again in China last week, following strikes earlier this month against low pay. This time it was retired and laid off contract teachers who were protesting against the failure of local government to pay them any kind of pension, despite a 1997 central government directive that all teachers should be put on civil service contracts which would give them better pay and secure pensions. Local governments say they have not got the money to do this. Local officials in Jiangsu province where the protests took place refused to meet the teachers.

Hundreds demonstrated outside the government offices in the province, where they were attacked by police who arrested some and injured at least one. One teacher had been working on a temporary contract for 40 years and most of the demonstrators had worked for between ten and thirty years. One said his pension was just $3.20 a month.

This is just the latest struggle by teachers in China. Teachers have been fighting low pay and the imposition of pension contributions in the Zhaodong province, and there have been further strikes and protests about the use of temporary contracts and the introduction of punitive performance related pay regimes.