osh.jpg  Children after the Violence in Osh earlier this Year Teachers in southern Kyrgyzstan are on strike for a living wage The teachers are now into the second week of their strike and teachers in the north of the country are planning to come out on strike on December 13th in solidarity with their colleagues. Teachers' salaries are $30 to $40 a month - not enough to feed a family. The authorities had promised them an allowance of food - rice, flour sugar and vegetable oil but even that has not been received by all the teachers. They are demanding an increase to $200 to $250 a month. Kyrgyzstan is an exporter of gold and oil as well as agricultural products such as tobacco. Yet over half the population lives below the poverty line. Kyrgyzstan is yet another country which has been under the yoke of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank - being designated as one of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries. As readers of posts on this website will know the IMF prescriptions always involve cutting public spending and selling off national assets to foreign corporations. The IMF has also insisted on much more restrictive labour laws. Teachers are not only having to cope with grinding poverty. The southern part of Kyrgyzstan also suffered from horrific ethnic violence earlier this year - which some suspected had been encouraged by the government. Meanwhile teachers - who are key to the future of the country - are having to work on wages which do not allow them to live - let alone work.