They are demanding that their services should be confirmed from the date of their joining and promises regarding arrears and regularisation of services put down in writing.

Mumbai : Though the State government has agreed to regularise the services of lecturers who have not cleared either the NET (national eligibility test) or the SET (state eligibility test), nor obtained a Ph D in their subjects and disburse their arrears, the striking teachers have refused to join duty. Upset with this, the State government has warned them that it will invoke the Essential Services Management Act, which will force them to end the strike.

The State Cabinet on Wednesday decided to regularise the services of 2,306 lecturers, who had started working from 1991 to 1999 and who, despite several opportunities to clear the NET and SET, had been unsuccessful.

They had even failed to get their Ph Ds and were therefore ineligible to be regularised. The striking teachers’ organisation, Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisation (MFUCTO), has demanded that they be made permanent employees since the date they joined.

“Their salaries were similar to that of a regular assistant professor, which is more than Rs 35,000, but now they will get permanent employee status and the accompanying benefits. But they will only be regularised from the date the decision was issued through the government resolution – most probably next week, and not from the date they joined the service,” said Higher Education Minister Rajesh Tope during a press conference.

Originally, there were 7,657 teachers, who were ineligible as per UGC norms for service confirmation. But in the meantime, 5,300 teachers either passed the qualifying exams or got their Ph Ds and they were regularised. The UGC has allowed an exemption to these teachers and therefore the State government has decided to regularise them.

But the striking teachers have refused to resume duty. They are demanding that their services should be confirmed from the date of their joining and promises regarding arrears and regularisation of services put down in writing.  “If teachers don’t resume work, they will not get paid for that day and in future, harsher action will be taken,” Tope warned.

The State government also announced that approximately Rs 1,500 crore in arrears will be disbursed to the teachers, in three instalments of Rs 500 crore each, till December this year.

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