Teachers at the Demonstration in Dresden Teachers in the old East Germay have been on strike this week The teachers - members of the teaching union GEW - are striking because 20 years after the reunification of Germany many teachers in the East still earn less than their colleagues in the West. There was a demonstration of several thousand in Potsdam, near the capital Berlin and in Dresden, 17,000 marched. Parents interviewed on the television expressed support for the teachers saying that decent pay for staff and good conditions in schools were essential if children were to receive a good education. Teachers on the demonstration pointed out that young people would be put off teaching in the east becasue of the low salaries meaning that the teaching force was ageing with few young people to take their place. Over 75% of schools in Sachsen were closed as teachers travelled to the demonstration in Dresden in front of the finance ministry. Jurgen Thamm - a leader of the GEW - told dnn-online that the teachers were 'very active and ready to strike' and that if no satisfacatory conclusion was reached in this week's negotiations, more strikes would be taking place. When finance minister Georg Unland suggested to teachers that they were lucky to have a secure job in the present economic crisis he was booed by the demonstrators. Another demand of the strikes and protests is one which is echoed round the world both in the North and in the Global South - the struggle for temporary teachers to be paid proper union rates. (see many previous posts -most recently about Kenya and India)