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Mumbai varsity staff, employees launch strike, demand implementation of 7th pay commission

By Priyanka Sahoo, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON SEP 28, 2020 11:06 PM IST

Around 1,400 non-teaching staff members and employees of the University of Mumbai launched an indefinite strike on Monday demanding the implementation of the seventh pay commission.

A ‘pen-down’ protest, where employees refused to do any official work, was launched as part of a state-wide protest called by employees of all 14 non-agricultural universities of Maharashtra. The employees have demanded revision of their pay based on the recommendations of the seventh pay commission, five-day week, assured career progression plan as well as pension for all employees.

The strike has been called by the Maharashtra State College Universities Employees Action Committee—a collective of eight employees associations in the state.

“We have launched the pen-down strike that will continue till September 30. If our demands are not met by then, we will call for a complete strike,” said an employee participating in the strike.

The strike comes at a time when the university is conducting online examinations for its students amid the Covid-19 pandemic. A senior official of the university said that the strike has so far not affected the examination process. However, if the strike were to continue, some exam-related works may be impacted, said the official.

While the recommendations by the seventh pay commission came into force in 2016, the state education department has not yet revised the pay scales of university staff so far.

State education minister Uday Samant held a meeting with representatives of the committee. “The state government will soon implement the recommendations of the seventh pay commission in non-agricultural colleges and universities. As soon as the Covid-19 situation improves, we will start the process of filling the vacant positions. The government is positive towards fulfilling the demands of the employees,” said Samant.

Despite the minister’s assurances, the Maharashtra State College Universities Employees Action Committee has refused to call off the strike. “The minister’s assurances alone will not suffice. We will continue to protest until the government expedites the process,” said a representative of the committee.

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