No agreement For Maharashtra University and College Teachers strike

Thirty thousand teachers, three weeks, many rounds of talks between members of Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisations (MFUCTO) and the state, but so far, no agreement in sight.

"What we want is a draft in which the state tells us specifically whether all the recommendations of the sixth pay commission are being implemented. If not, it should tell us which ones haven’t been okayed," said MFUCTO president CR Sadasivan.

"The draft should state categorically state all the details like retirement age, placements, leave package etc. Only based on that can further negotiations can take place," said Tapati Mukhopadhyay, a MFUCTO member. However, the state is not ready provide any such draft. "We will issue a government resolution (GR) on sixth pay at the earliest," said JS Saharia, principal secretary, higher and technical education department.

Another demand made by the teachers is the extension of benefits to 10,000 teachers, who they say "have been wrongly brought under NET/SLET requirement retrospectively". "The state has to clear the case of all these teachers by issuing a GR. But they are avoiding it on the ill advice of the bureaucracy," said Mukhopadhyay.

The higher education department has termed this demand illegal. "There is a high court order which clearly says that NET/SLET is compulsory. So, there is no question of agreeing," said Saharia.

MFUCTO has warned the strike will become more intense in the coming days. "We have adopted a resolution that teachers will boycott all other university work like syllabus preparation, reevaluation or moderation from August 4 onwards," said Sadasivan.

Hope today?

Higher education minister Rajesh Tope on Sunday requested MFUCTO to withdraw the strike. Tope said teachers will be given the 6th Pay in five phases as per UGC guidelines. He also said the govt will request UGC and Centre to relax NET/SLET rules. A meeting between the two is scheduled on Monday.

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