PUNE: Around 93 teachers working at various Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) run schools went on indefinite hunger strike on Monday. They are agitating against not making them ‘permanent’ employees even after serving for eight years. According to teachers, this has happened even after the orders were released four months ago.
The teachers belonging to the primary sections of PMC-run schools with Marathi and Urdu medium of instruction will agitate outside PMC day and night.
“The teachers were recruited by PMC eight years ago on add-on basis as there was a crunch in the number of teachers at the schools in the city. After three years of continuous service, for the past five years, the teachers have been demanding to be given permanent status. However, every time, PMC has been dodging them with false promises,” Sachin Dimble, PMC Teachers’ Union Leader said.
After protests by the teachers, the PMC requested action on the same from the State government in 2015, over which on April 15, 2017, the government passed an order to do the needful and make the teachers permanent.
“It has been more than four months since the order is passed and the PMC has still not made the necessary moves. They have stalled the process giving some or the other excuse each time. Even today, Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar asked us for 15 days to resolve the issue. However, the teachers are not ready to leave from here until they get the final letter in their hands,” Dimble said.
Gangu Shirsat, who teaches at Sopanrao Baburao Katke PMC School No. 151 B in Baner, said, “We have employed on a meager remuneration of Rs 6,000 for the past eight years. We work the same time and the same amount as the permanent teachers do, with all extra government work along with teaching, but we are still paid so much lesser, without any allowances. Many of us have passed the age-bar and cannot even switch jobs.”
She further said that the teachers have been protesting for long, and this is the fourth hunger strike. “Each time, to respect the authorities, we take our strike back and wait for the PMC to make us permanent. However, each time we face disappointment. Even this time, we had given them the notice for the strike on September 1, and they still hadn’t done anything until Monday morning. Hence, we have decided that until our demand is fulfilled, we are not going to withdraw our stir,” Shirsat said.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar said, “The process for granting permanent status to the teachers is already underway, and it will be completed once we receive approval from the Urban Development Department. It will require at the most 15 more days. We will try to interact with the protesters once again on Tuesday to reassure them and convince them to take back the strike.”