7,200 junior college teachers go on strike across Maharashtra
Over 7,200 junior college teachers across Maharashtra have begun the fifth phase of their ongoing protests on February 21, the day when Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations began. As part of the strike, the teachers have declared that all assessment of HSC examination papers will remain suspended till the government issues a government resolution (GR) guaranteeing the fulfilment of their demands.
After the fourth phase of their agitation on February 2, the teachers claimed to have been pushed into the next phase due to the government’s lag in keeping their ‘promises’. On February 3, the state government, responding to the protesting teachers’ demands to give the deserved aid to junior college teachers, had promised implementation by February 20. However, in spite of accepting all their demands, the government is yet to issue a GR.
“We are not against the students and their future but the matter has gone beyond the limit now. The fight is between us and the government and to continue it we are boycotting the examinations by refusing to assess the answer papers. The government has been promising to fulfil our demands for the past three years. There are teachers who have been selflessly teaching for the past 18 years with no salary, on a mere payment of ₹5,000 (for full-time) and ₹2,000 (for part-time). We cannot wait anymore,” said Anil Deshmukh, president of the Maharashtra State Federation of Junior College Teachers' Organisations.
The agitating teachers’ demands include immediate approval to teachers appointed after May 2, 2012 as they are working without salaries, application of the old pension scheme to those who are in service after November 1, 2005, salary grant to IT teachers, streamlined recruitment and payment of salaries, and implementation of the 7th Pay Commission by revising the grade pay. The federation also has demanded for an immediate salary grant to teachers working in permanently unaided junior colleges, who despite the eligibility of salary grant have been devoid of it.