Bishop Cotton strike ends; sacked staff reinstated

April 26th, 2009 - 1:23 am ICT by IANS  

Shimla, April 25 (IANS) The strike in the 150-year-old Bishop Cotton School here ended Saturday after the management reinstated 23 of the 33 employees it had sacked last December after accusing them of pilferage.
Tension between the school management and the employees had mounted when all the Class IV employees, including the kitchen staff, went on strike April 20 after talks between the school authorities and the employees failed. The striking employees were demanding the reinstatement of all their 33 sacked colleagues.

“The dispute between the school management and the striking employees ended this (Saturday) evening as the management has decided to reinstate 23 sacked employees,” Harish Janaratha, a member of the school board, told IANS.

The remaining 10 - the main accused - would appear before an enquiry to be conducted by the school management. Their reinstatement or otherwise would be decided on the basis of the probe committee’s recommendations.

Caught in the confrontation were around 600 boarders who had been deprived of essential services and security since the staffers went on the strike.

The school’s headmaster Roy Christopher Robinson said: “The striking employees would join duty soon,” adding that the parents of the boarders played an important role in resolving the issue.

A large number of parents had arrived at the school in the past few days to help break the impasse.

Aninderjit Singh, a parent who had come from Hoshiarpur in Punjab, said: “I am feeling quite relaxed now. The school will now work normally after months of dispute.”

He said the parents had also requested the school management to set up a Parent Teacher Association.

Bishop Cotton, one of Asia’s oldest boarding schools, was established in 1859. It will celebrate its 150th anniversary in July. It boasts of alumni like constitutional expert Fali S. Nariman, writer Ruskin Bond, golfer Jeev Milkha Singh and former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh.

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