Maharashtra Teachers Organisation strike called off

The 45-day teachers’ strike that began on July 14 over several issues, prime among them being the implementation of the sixth pay commission was called off yesterday. The decision was announced at a late-night press conference on Wednesday jointly by the the state higher education minister Rajesh Tope and members of the Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation. Classes in colleges and university will resume on Thursday.

Besides implementation of the Sixth Pay Commmision scales, teachers had also wanted the UGC pay package to be implemented in its entirety, and parity for teachers appointed between 1991-99 without a NET/SLET qualification.

However, the education minister said that while the Sixth Pay Commission salaries would be implemented and dearness allowance would be paid as per UGC scales, other allowances such as travel would be similar to state government employees. But certain benefits that the teachers avail of, which are on par with central government employees and are higher than what state government employees receive, will remain the same.

But on the NET/SLET issue, teachers’ demands have not been met. The state government has refused to waive aside the NET/SLET qualification for teachers

appointed between 1991-99. Tope observed that according to three or four high court decisions, this demand was not consistent with the law. However, he added that a four-member committee will be formed that will comprise two representatives from the government and two from the teachers’ union. This panel will take up individual cases of teachers appointed between 1991-99 who do not have the NET/SLET qualification, before the state government.

As a result of the strike 35 working days have been lost. Teachers will now have to make up for the lost time during their vacations and if they manage to do so they will not lose out on their salary. However, principals of colleges will have to give it in writing to the university that teachers have completed their portions.

The minister also said that a circular sent on August 24 from the education department to the university asking it to initiate action against the striking teachers will no longer be valid now that the strike has been called off.

Source : Times of India.

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