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Russian Teachers Protest Wage Levels

Russian Education Minister Andrei Fursenko
Russian Education Minister Andrei Fursenko
IRKUTSK, Russia -- About 200 teachers from secondary schools and kindergartens in eastern Russia staged a protest on October 7 to demand a salary increase, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Teachers from all 30 districts in Irkutsk Oblast participated in the rally near the Irkutsk Oblast government building.

The protesters held placards saying: "Parliament Members Should Have the Same Salary as Teachers!" "Teachers' Salaries Are A Disgrace To Russia!" and "Fursenko's Salary Should Be The Same As Ours!" (Andrei Fursenko is Russia's education minister).

Viktor Razumov, acting deputy chairman of some local labor unions, told RFE/RL that the city authorities were reluctant to permit the protest action, but finally agreed on condition that it was "not too close to the [government] building."

Razumov said the authorities first said the venue is where activists from the ruling United Russia party hold their gatherings, and for that reason it is not possible for the teachers to protest there.

Razumov said that no one can recall any event ever organized by United Russia being held at that specific location.

Irkutsk Oblast Education Minister Viktor Basyuk met with the protesters and tried to explain how their salaries are calculated. He advised them "not to be afraid of the directors of their schools and kindergartens," and to raise their problems with the regional Education Ministry if necessary.

He also recommended the teachers would not hold future protests at the regional government building but in their towns and cities.

The average monthly salary of a secondary school or kindergarten teacher is 12,000-15,500 rubles ($370-$480).

Read more in Russian here