Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Maharashtra : 36 days on, teachers still battle for dues

With the strike by 30,000 teachers from 10 universities and over 2,000 colleges across the state entering it's 36th day, it became possibly the longest teachers' strike in Maharashtra.

"A decade ago, the all-India teachers' strike for the implementation of UGC pay scales lasted around 25 days, from mid-August to September 5. Twenty years ago, the strike that held the record for being the longest in the state was for 32 days, between December 1988 and January 1989,'' Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations (MFUCTO) president C R Sadasivan said.

College and university teachers are protesting the fact that Maharashtra has not yet implemented Sixth Pay Commission scales for them. Teachers want the government to implement the composite pay package prescribed by the University Grants Commission. They also want an end to the discrimination meted out to teachers appointed between 1991-99 who did not clear the NET/SLET examination, an entry-level qualification that was not mandatory at the time.

Talks between the state higher education minister Rajesh Tope and the striking teachers fell through after discussions that lasted 26 hours over a period of seven days. Teachers then requested the chief minister to intervene in the matter. The CM met a delegation of teachers on Sunday afternoon for around half-an-hour. "The CM understood our demands,'' said Sadasivan. On Tuesday, teachers received a message from the government, inviting them for a further round of talks in Mantralaya at 1 pm on Thursday.

Colleges and universities will have a tough time making up for the lectures lost. The strike has lasted 36 days (including five Sundays) and they will have to utilise a portion of the three-week-long Diwali vacation as well as the week-long Christmas holidays in addition to the 30-odd Sundays left in the academic year.
Source : Times of India.

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