Chinese Teachers in Hubei Go on Strike Protesting Low Wages

Hundreds of teachers boycott classes protesting

From NetEase :

Hubei Luotian Hundreds Of Teachers Go On Strike, Displaying Banners In Demonstration on Square

Beijing Times (weibo) report — The day before yesterday, in Hubei province Huanggang city Luotian county, several hundred teachers refused to hold class, and gathered together in county’s Dongmen stadium, demanding higher wages. The Luotian government said that night that they will carry out the relevant policies as soon as possible, and resolve [the issue of the] teachers’ pay.

One teacher from Luotian said, at a little after 10am on the 25th, middle and primary school teachers from Luotian No.2 Middle School, Experimental Middle School, etc. went on strike in succession, one after another gathering in the county’s punblic sports complex where they unfurled banners to demonstrate. Soon afterwards, the entire county and township’s primary and middle school teachers collectively went on strike in support, with a total of five to six hundred teachers involved.

 The banner by protesting teachers

One teacher explained that he began working in 2009 and his wage every month along with performance bonus is only a little more than 1700 yuan, which is not high in Luotian. A few days ago, a teacher claimed that since 2010, Luotian county permanent employees all get 500 yuan in subsidies/allowances per month, that such has already been issued to hospitals and other institutions, but the subsidies for teachers have been embezzled/diverted. The teachers have had nearly twenty thousand yuan deprived, and “this is the cause of the strike”.

Two nights ago, the Luotian county government published a statement on its web portal stating that on the morning after the incident, the county party committee and government arranged the relevant leaders to go to the scene to handle the matter. At 4:30pm that day, all of the assembled teachers returned to their schools, and that school order had returned to normal. The county party committee and government held a special session, and decided to implement the relevant policies as soon as possible to solve the issue of teachers pay.

Hundreds of teachers in Hubei province of China go on strike demanding higher wages.

Yesterday afternoon, a member of the staff from the Luotian Education Bureau office said the teachers assembled because their pay is relatively low compared with that in other industries. Luotian teachers’ salaries are disbursed in accordance with standards, but the “500 yuan monthly subsidy” claim “should not be true”. He indicated that the county party committee, government, and education bureau have already talked with the teachers’ representatives, that “teachers’ pay should be improved, but the specific scope of increase and when it will be implemented has not been determined yet”.

According to a Luotian teacher who participated in the strike, the representatives of the teachers have revealed that pay will be increased. Another teacher disclosed that although many teachers have returned to school, they haven’t actually started classes and the students were thus studying on their own.

Hundreds of teachers boycott classes protesting

Comments from NetEase: & Phoenix Online:

万能D临时工 [网易山东省临沂市网友]:

[So those working in] the most glorious profession under the sky, must be purify their hearts and limit their desires, endure hardship and live in poverty? Why should they! You all demand teachers to be like candles, burning themselves up to give light to others. Little brothers and sisters, I ask you, do you still remember what candles look like?

网友智商捉鸡 [网易日本网友]:

These teachers aren’t considering the larger picture. Our country is about to rise up to become a big and powerful [prosperous] nation, and they can’t even wait out this bit [be patient]?

网易广东省东莞市网友(14.219.*.*)

First of all, this is a teacher’s strike, not a student’s strike [correcting the difference between 罢教 and 罢课 in the original Chinese report]! The reporter’s word choice is incorrect. Second, in today’s society, there are many ways to express one’s appeals and demands, and there are also a lot of effective methods, but with regards to education, the teachers using a strike to express their demands can be said to be the very worst method. Just what example are these teachers giving their students? Or we can say, are they even fit to be teachers at all? Isn’t it just a small subsidy? To be so extreme for money is really a disgrace to the educated class. A social class that uses its brain doing such a brainless thing. Both foolish and stupid!

1386838296980 [网易湖南省长沙市网友]: (responding to above)

The person above has completely lost his/her conscience. First, the ways to express demands in today’s society are indeed many, but there are basically none that are effective. Second, these teachers made a very good example for their students, their way of fighting for their own interests that they deserve being great, glorious and proper. Third, what may just be a bit of subsidy for some beasts is a large amount of money for the majority of people. All of the world’s problems ultimately boil down to economic problems. In foreign countries, even civil servants and police go on strike for money, and only those who dare to go on strike are real citizens while those who have grievances but dare not go on strike are all slaves.

nie0b375 [网易广东省肇庆市网友]:

At present, the wages for teachers throughout the nation is seriously imbalanced, where some places it is over ten thousand yuan, while other places it is just over a thousand yuan. In many places, the compensation for teachers look about the same as that of civil servants on the surface, but in reality the gap is obvious. In addition, civil servants do not need to buy social insurance, while teachers have to, because the rules and regulations are set by them.

凤凰网黑龙江省网友:凤凰网友

The compensation that should be given to the teachers should be given. The county should not use [that money].

凤凰网河北省保定市网友:zdcx

Teachers these days just love holidays and provide tutoring classes [to get gifts from parents and make extra money from tutoring services]

凤凰网山西省网友:手机用户

The salary is indeed low, but just how long do they have to work? Every year there’s even winter and summer vacations, and just two classes each day. Nowadays the compensation is like that of civil servants, and aren’t teachers throughout the country all the same, yet they are still threatening to go on strike?

凤凰网北京市网友 凤凰小过客:

If you do not believe it, come to Wuxue and investigate, to see just where they used the wages allocated by the national government for teachers. There indeed are teachers who make money by providing extra lessons [tutoring services], but most teachers stay within their role/bounds [do their jobs seriously without looking for ways to fleece parents]. Teachers have to live and raise their families too. Their wages were low to begin with, and then with deductions here and deductions there, what they actually get in their hands after all that is just barely enough for their own survival. Just look at how few boys enroll in teaching schools and become teachers.

凤凰网浙江省网友:wenguow:

Rights and interests should be fought for, but don’t harm all those innocent children. Why not use winter and summer vacation to go to Chang’an Avenue [to protest]? Based on what I know, in many places, if there isn’t a connection, even if you were to give money, you wouldn’t be able to get a job as a teacher, no matter what famous “normal university [teaching university]” you graduated from. Teachers are one of the foundations of human civilization, so don’t be too selfish and all about your self-interest!

凤凰网腾讯微博网友:逆天行道

To improve the quality and level of Chinese teachers, we must break the “iron rice bowl” [stable, lifelong job] of teachers, and realize a system of employment under contract.

What do you think?

Hundreds of teachers in Hubei province of China go on strike demanding higher wages.

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  • Irvin

    Well if they feel their wages are low and can do better by protesting then by all means go for it I’ll say.

  • Cauffiel

    When I was a teacher in Hubei, I made 3800/mo. I liked living there, but the pay was just way too low.

  • chandlerpatrick

    I like it. Solidarity. Teachers in other places should do the same thing (if they feel underpaid).

    • donscarletti

      Throughout my education, I had a sum total of one teacher who was both a good teacher and a union supporter. The rest were invariably one or the other.

      • masonman

        In America, the moment teachers got unionized, schools became magnets for lazy, unfireable teachers. I should know, I spent the first twelve years of my schooling being force fed their drivel. And I went to a “good” public school.

  • Teacher in China

    One of the Chinese commenters mentioned that some teachers get 10,000 per month in China – I wonder where that is? That seems high for a Chinese teacher salary.

    • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

      Maybe they confused the pay of a foreign teacher with a local one.

    • donscarletti

      Yes, teachers at government schools have pay grades, based on seniority and yearly evaluation. Top pay grade in the larger cities works out to be well over 10K a month, though cash in hand makes up only a small part of that package, the rest being various other benefits. Also, a teacher with the top pay grade from a government school that resigns and goes to a private school can earn even more, maybe 20K or so. Plus, you have to remember the red envelopes on teacher’s day.

      Teaching is actually considered a pretty good paying job in China.

      • Chris

        Really? My wife teaches at a government school. She’s been there 30 years. She gets 2500 yuan/mnth. For that salary, she gets Saturday afternoons off and Sunday mornings off, every other week. She also has to teach evening classes until 9:00 PM three days per week.

        Yeah, teaching really IS a pretty good paying job in China, isn’t it?

    • Cauffiel

      My university pays both foreign and Chinese teachers 10,000 a month + bonuses.

    • Teacher in China

      A lot of you are mentioning hongbao and the like, and yeah obviously when you add that in it makes sense. I was under the impression the comment I referred to was talking about salary in the strict sense of the word, since that’s what the article is about. Still seems like it would be the exception rather than the rule for a normal high school Chinese teacher.

  • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

    I find some of the comments amusing or stupid.

    There is the usual “Think of the children’ comment there. Well, why don’t you think of the Teacher’s children and their extended family? Striking is usually a last resort. It makes a statement and it is meant to disrupt the usual flow of things. Protesting on the street isn’t seen in China much so I doubt that would have led to anything.

    网易广东省东莞市网友(14.219.*.*) comments are really disingenuous. Either he is a slave or someone getting paid to make such comments.

  • Dr Sun

    collective action has always been the peoples power, you just must be careful if you choose a leader that speaks, walks and talks like the dog you oppose.

  • Jahar

    They never mention the bonuses and gifts the teachers get.

    • North-eastern

      And who gives them those gifts?

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  • Archie

    “Our country is about to rise up to become a big and powerful nation, and they can’t even wait out this bit?”

    Yeah, these teachers should clearly kick back and take one for the team. Deng Xiaoping said some will get rich before others, he clearly meant for teachers to be the others, so they should just cop their lot and struggle for love of country.

  • Middle_Kingdum

    That place looks so beautiful! The teachers should be so thankful to live in such a wonderland! They should be harmonious yo and happily take whatever pay the honest party officials believe is fair.

  • Teacher in China

    Yeah the hongbao stuff can get ridiculous. Teachers make a killing from that every year on the big day. In my town, it’s mostly done as a way to get their kid closer to the front of the class. Then there are other teachers who purposefully do not teach some of the curriculum so that they can sell extra classes on the side to the rich kids that can afford it.

  • Markoff

    wow that’s sick, taking away 1200rmb out of 2000rmb salary, but my question is why she won’t resign? i’m pretty sure someone with teacher education can find job earning more than 800rmb, even sellers in shops earn at least 1500-2000rmb, hell even if she would sell baozi on street she would earn much more then 800 and she would need to work much less hours, 800rmb salary is joke anywhere in china

  • Nick in Beijing

    China needs a whole lot more of this kind of action.

    I am glad to see that at least these teachers are taking to the street to air their complaints.

    I had dinner with a group of long-time students last Saturday, some of whom are teachers as well, and since we’ve all known each other for a few years we decided to share our salaries. Most of them had official salaries of around 5,000 per month. They admitted to getting gifts and hong baos and whatnot, but even so they rarely amounted to 2/3 of what I make per month.

    I should have felt bad for making substantially more than they do while doing a similar job, but they know very well that I make that much (and many other foreign teachers) because if we didn’t then we simply wouldn’t accept the job.

    Even though I make substantially more than any of my students do (except some who are hospital directors, financial advisers and the like), they all felt that I should be getting paid much more, and they should be getting a salary similar to my own. Their reasoning was quite simple: A teacher enables others to seek their fortunes, and the education that teachers provide is the foundation that all aspects of society is built on. That hospital director? He needed someone to teach him his trade to get the job. Then he needed a mentor to hone his knowledge, and after that he needed further training to learn the skills necessary to manage a department and finally to direct an entire hospital. That financial adviser? Same thing.

    That teachers are paid as poorly as they are and supported as poorly as they are in much of the world is a testament to the selfishness and idiocy inherent to the human condition.

  • yangsiyuan

    How can they even call themselves communist since they are clearly giving into demands of protesters, which is good. Go teachers! A step in the right direction!

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