More strikes are taking place in China as teachers struggle to make ends meet. Following protests in Zhaodong province, which apparently resulted in a small pay rise, teachers in three towns in Heilongjiang province took action last week. Up to 20,000 teachers took part, with many protesting outside government headquarters in the towns, Yilan, Shangzhi and Shuangcheng. According to a report in the UK Financial Times, protesters scuffled with police and many were detained, although following more demonstrations the next day they were subsequently released

Subsequently the strike has spread to other parts of Heilongjiang, despite the fact that teachers have been threatened with demotion or dismissal if they take action. Schools are expected to remain closed today.

The strikes are about disputed pension contributions, with teachers saying their pension funds have been raided by the government and low pay which makes it difficult to survive with a family. One teacher said he was only earning $407 a month after 25 years in the job.

Although the strike appears to have been well supported, representatives of the official union in the schools refused to take part.

It is interesting that not only does low pay afflict teachers in China, but also many of the neoliberal 'reforms' which are plaguing teachers globally are very much in evidence there as well, including keeping teachers on short term contracts, privatisation and performance related pay. Read more about these stories here