The Joint Action Council (JAC) of college teachers of Tamil Nadu has urged the Central Government and the Ministry of Human Resources Development to give up “anti-teacher and anti-employee” policies, particularly with regard to pension.

The JAC that represents the Association of University Teachers (AUT), Tamil Nadu Government Collegiate Teachers' Association (TNGCTA) and Madurai Kamaraj and Manonmaniam Sundaranar University Teachers' Association (MUTA), organised a protest in Tiruchi recently to highlight the demand. Similar demonstrations were organised simultaneously in Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai and Tirunelveli.

The demonstration in Tiruchi had the participation of about 500 teachers from 22 government aided and 19 government colleges in Tiruchi, Karur, Perambalur, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Namakkal, Ariyalur and Nagapattinam districts.

The Tiruchi zone of the AUT organised the demonstration in deference to the call given by the All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisation (AIFUCTO). K.Pandiyan, AUT president and T.Arivudai Nambi, Vice-Chairman, TNGCTA, presided over the demonstration. P.M.Sathik and Selvaraj, convenors of AUT and TNGCTA respectively also addressed the gathering.

Withdraw draft bill

P.Jayagandhi, AIFUCTO National Secretary, highlighted the charter of demands, urging the Central Government to withdraw the draft bill – Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill – to be submitted in the Parliament. Seeking continuance of the old Assured Pension Scheme instead of Contributory Pension Scheme, he said the new move would darken the retired life of employees appointed on or before March 31, 2003.

Speculation in the Contributory Provident Fund of these employees resulting from fluctuating share markets was the worst part of the bill. The future of these employees will hinge on the market forces, he apprehended.

Though the new UGC pay scales had been announced and implemented by some States, the MHRD and the UGC were yet to release 80 per cent of their financial commitment to the State governments. Several State governments cite non-release of central assistance as reason for non-implementation of new UGC pay revision to teachers, Dr.Jayagandhi pointed out.

The JAC urged the UGC to implement the UGC Regulations 2010 prospectively and not retrospectively in consonance with judgements of various High Courts and the Supreme Court.

Dr.Pandiyan demanded immediate release of the S.P.Thiagarajan Committee report on pay anomalies submitted to the UGC. Decrying the “neo-liberal” policies adopted by the Central and State Governments in higher education and the permission granted for foreign universities in India, he demanded that public funded higher educational institutions, universities and colleges be strengthened.

Keywords: pension scheme