Teachers’ body threatens strike over pay
Federation of Central Universities Teachers’ Associations (FEDCUTA) has decided to give University Grants Commission (UGC) Pay Review Committee (PRC) an ultimatum. According to Aditya Narayan Misra, president of the federation, all 22-member universities will observe a bandh on August 7 if the committee, headed by Professor G.K. Chadha, does not submit its report by the end of this month.
This decision was taken at a FEDCUTA meeting held on Saturday where representatives of 13 member universities — including Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University, Assam University, Visva Bharati, IGNOU, Jamia Hamdard, and Manipur University — met to discuss the “delay in the submission of the report”. The federation will intimate the HRD Ministry and UGC of its decision in a day or two.
“Though the committee was set up by the UGC in September 2007, it hasn’t yet been able to submit its report. We want the committee to do so by July 31 or else the teachers will register their protest by observing a bandh on August 7. No classes will be held in any of the 22 member universities of FEDCUTA on this day,” said Misra.
The UGC had appointed the Committee with Professor G.K. Chadha as its chairman on September 6, 2007, to review the scales of pay of teachers in the universities and colleges and make recommendations for attracting and retaining talent in higher education. The Committee is supposed to submit its report to the UGC within one year of its constitution.
A FEDCUTA delegation has already met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the HRD Minister to express concern over the existing working and service conditions of teachers and to seek their intervention.
Professor Chadha, chairman of PRC, said: “FECUTA has not yet informed me about their decision. However, I note their threat will full regard. I cannot commit on a time frame because this is not a one-man job. This committee consists of six members residing in different parts of the country. We have taken a cross section of opinions from the teaching community and now all the members need to come together to understand their needs and formulate the report. All I can say is that we'll definitely do full justice to the teaching community.”