Maharashtra teachers' strike which entered 30th day

Chief minister Ashok Chavan has decided to intervene in the teachers’ strike and is likely to meet them later this week. The strike which entered 30th day today intensified as teachers from across the state courted arrest.

In Mumbai, close to 1,000 striking teachers tried to court arrest when leaders of the Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation (MFUCTO) were being arrested. Some teachers met deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal and submitted the list of demands to him. "He too promised to look into the matter,’’ said MFUCTO’s C R Sadashivan. College principals from across the city too are planning to stage a day-long protest to mark their support for the striking teachers, said Madhu Paranjpe of BUCTU.

Teachers stated they still hadn’t heard from the government on its decision regarding grade pay, benefits and other allowances laid down by the University Grants Commission. The teachers are also protesting the unfair treatment meted out to those hired between 1991 and 2000 who have not cleared the NET/SLET exams - an entry-level qualification that was not mandatory at the time.

Rajesh Tope, higher and technical education minister had said, "Proposals regarding NET/SLET exemptions for teachers will be sent by respective universities to the UGC. Exemptions given by the UGC must be approved of by the respective universities within 30 days.’’

In fact last week the association and the government agreed on the setting up of a committee to follow up on these cases. MFUCTO members will be part of this committee. "We have given this in writing in our agreement to the union,’’ Tope said. According to that agreement, teachers’ leave package and retirement age will remain the same.

The longest strike in 1987 lasted for 54 days, when faculty members from across the country were protesting against the government for not drawing up practical pay scales.

Source : Times of India.

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