Teachers’ Pay Protest Spreads In Northern Kyrgyzstan

December 14
TALAS, Kyrgyzstan — Some 500 secondary school teachers picketed the governor’s office in Kyrgyzstan’s northern Talas Oblast to demand a salary increase, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reports.

It’s the latest in a series of such protests across the country, since teachers in a number of southern districts went on strike at the beginning of the month.

In the Ton district of the north-eastern Issyk-Kul Oblast dozens of teachers also gathered on December 14 to demand a pay increase, but one of them, Liliya Sopieva, told RFE/RL they are not on strike yet. She said their protest is an expression of solidarity with striking and protesting teachers in other regions.

On December 13, about 500 secondary school teachers in the northern Jeti-Oguz district picketed the local governor’s office demanding a salary increase.

Education and Science Minister Kanat Sadykov met with the protesters and told them the government is considering raising the average salary of secondary school teachers by 30 percent — a proposed hike the teachers dismissed as insufficient.

Kyrgyz secondary school teachers earn an average monthly salary of some $30-$40. The protesting teachers in Jeti-Oguz are demanding $300-$320 per month.

The teachers in Jeti-Oguz warned that unless their demands are met within seven days, all secondary school teachers in the district will start a long-term strike next on December 20.

Some teachers in the southern districts of Bazar-Korgon, Suzak, and Ozgon, who were the first to go on strike, have not yet returned to work.

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