Published: 17th February 2020
Here's why college and university teachers in West Bengal are unhappy with Mamata's New Year pay hike
The teachers demanded that the revised pay scales must be implemented effectively and not just notionally from January 1, 2016, as per the UGC recommendation
College and university teachers across West Bengal are not happy with the pay hike the Mamata Bannerjee government announced on December 30, 2019, and have been protesting, demanding a pay hike in line with the University Grants Commission's (UGC) pay scale from 2016. Teachers from 16 teachers’ bodies from across the state held a sit-in demonstration in Kolkata on Friday and some of them are also planning a cease work at institutions like Jadavpur University.
The teachers demanded that the revised pay scales must be implemented effectively and not just notionally from January 1, 2016, as per the UGC recommendation. "The Central Government has undertaken to pay 50 per cent of the cost of such arrear payment (up to March 31, 2019). By not paying these arrears, the Government of West Bengal is benefiting the Central Government and depriving the teachers of the state," added Dr Partha Pratim Roy, General Secretary of the Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (JUTA).
But how much will the teachers' salary increase? Dr Roy estimates an approximate 20 per cent increase in salary — which will vary from person to person. "We wrote to the Chief Minister’s Office last month but there has been no sign of our demands being considered. We will intensify the movement and may even plan a cease work at Jadavpur University soon. But nothing has been finalised yet,” Dr Roy said. "The increments for the PhD, MPhil or MTech students must be paid in accordance with the 2018 UGC Regulations. Failing to do so will discourage young people from taking up higher education here," said the teachers in their letter to the CM last month.
Dr Kesab Bhattacharya, General Secretary, West Bengal College & University Teachers’ Association (WBCUTA) reiterated the demands in a letter to the Education Minister, Partha Chatterjee on February 15. There has been no communication from the minister's office as well. "Unlike the state government employees the college and university teachers, and the pensioners of the state were denied the interim relief on the ground that pays revision of the college and university teachers of the state come under the purview of the University Grants Commission," said Dr Bhattacharya, explaining why their claim is logical and legitimate.