Moderate response to varsity, college teachers’ strike in city

ST Correspondent
Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Speaking about the agenda of the protest, SP Lawande, General Secretary of MFUCTO, said, “We have sent several letters to the State government to lift the ban on teachers’ recruitment, as there are many vacancies in the colleges. Further, college professors, who are appointed on contract basis, are paid less and have been exploited by the colleges. The State government has also not implemented the 7th Pay Commission for teachers yet.”

Pune: Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organization (MFUCTO) started a state-wide indefinite strike over several issues - from ban on professor appointment to salary issues and opposition to few provisions under Maharashtra State Public University Act, 2016 - from Tuesday.

As a mark of this strike, aided colleges will be functioning but no lectures will be conducted, informed members of MFUCTO. 

Out of 25,000 teachers across Maharashtra, around 3,000 teachers from 150 affiliated aided colleges to Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) will be participating in the strike.

However, in the city, there was a moderate response, as many colleges had lectures as usual and few were exempted due to ongoing practical examinations on Tuesday.

When a Sakal Times photographer visited Sir Parashurambhau (SP) College, it was found that lectures were held as usual. 

Even Abasaheb Garware College functioned as usual. 

“Our college is conducting exams, therefore the organisation has exempted those colleges, who have exams, from the strike,” said Sopan Rathod, professor of the physics department of Garware college and President of Pune University Teachers’ Association (PUTA).

Member of executive committee of MFUCTO Shyam Thorat stated that only permanent teachers are participating in the strike. Also lectures and practicals have been cancelled by the organisation, but exams will not be affected by it. “Colleges that are conducting examinations and those teachers, who are on clock hour basis teaching at colleges (temporary,) have been exempted from the strike. Therefore, this is one of the reasons that the strike has been partly followed in the city,” said Thorat.

Speaking about the agenda of the protest, SP Lawande, General Secretary of MFUCTO, said, “We have sent several letters to the State government to lift the ban on teachers’ recruitment, as there are many vacancies in the colleges. Further, college professors, who are appointed on contract basis, are paid less and have been exploited by the colleges. The State government has also not implemented the 7th Pay Commission for teachers yet.”

Other issues highlighted are according to the State Public University Act, 2016. Nomination system has been introduced because of which universities are nominating wrong people, while those who are elected members of academic and management council at universities are given less importance. “The State has not responded to any of our demands till now. We had organised a token protest as well. Now after three months, Education Minister has called for a meeting, the rest will be decided after that, said the member.

Education Minister Vinod Tawade had conducted a meeting on Tuesday afternoon addressing the issues raised by different teachers’ organisations in the State and discussed the matter. Tawade has responded positively to this and has assured to take positive action in implementation of 7th Pay Commission, clearing 71 days of pending salaries of teachers, pension scheme and lifting the ban on appointment. Nevertheless, MFUCTO has stated that the minutes of the meeting were not confirmed, therefore, unless any concrete outcome is resulted out of the meeting, the strike will continue. 

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