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More Kyrgyz Teachers Join Pay Protest

Teachers in many areas of Kyrgyzstan are saying 30 percent just isn't enough.
BALYKCHY, Kyrgyzstan -- Some 600 secondary school and kindergarten teachers today picketed the municipal administration building in Balykchy in Kyrgyzstan's northern Issyk-Kul region in a protest over pay, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The protesters are criticizing as insufficient the central government's decision to give teachers a 30 percent pay raise as of January 1.

Local union leader Kurmanbek Jeenbaev told RFE/RL that the protest was continuing despite a meeting between Balykchy Mayor Mirlan Bobekov and the participants.

The Education Ministry promised a 30 percent pay increase for secondary school teachers, beginning in January, in response to strikes and protests earlier this month by teachers in the southern districts of Bazar-Korgon, Suzak, and Ozgon.

But last week disgruntled teachers in southern Alai district, northern Jeti-Oguz district and Talas Oblast staged similar protests, saying 30 percent was not enough.

Kyrgyz secondary school teachers earn an average monthly salary of some $30-$40.

Read in Kyrgyz here