Fall-out of university's warning to withhold salaries over semester agitation
Delhi University's warning that it will not pay teachers who have gone on strike against the semester system had its first fall-out here on Wednesday when teachers and the Principal of Maharaja Agrasen College were involved in a face-off after teachers claimed that they had not received their October salaries.
Associate Professor of History in the college, Neeraj Kumar Singh, said: “Around 50 teachers wanted to know the state of their salaries. We wanted to talk to Principal Dr. Sunil Sondhi who refused to speak to us. He claims that the salaries have been released. However, the salaries have not been released as neither the college governing body treasurer nor the bursar have given their assent for disbursement of salaries.”
“As we were trying to get a response from the Principal about our salaries, he summoned the police and about 50 teachers were sent to the New Ashok Nagar police station where we were detained for about two hours. Before the episode, teachers decided to resign from all staff council committees as a mark of protest for not receiving the salaries. We are yet to receive any communication regarding payment of our salaries.” he added.
The teachers too have lodged a police complaint against the Principal for “misbehaviour.”
Principal Dr. Sunil Sondhi when contacted said salaries had already been released excluding payment for the five-day Delhi University Teachers' Association strike. “Teachers are angry because they have not received payment for the five days that they went on strike. However, this salary has only been withheld and not deducted. To get this pay, they simply have to state in written that they were present in the college on those five days. Those who did not go on strike including ad hoc teachers have been paid in full,” he said.
The Principal claimed that the bursar who is responsible for disbursement of salaries is also a teacher and hence was pressurised by the rest of the teaching community to not sign the pay orders according to which teachers were not to receive pay for the days they had gone on strike.
“The treasurer who is unwell could not sign either. So the payment was authorised by the college governing body chairman. By Thursday, all teachers should have the money in their banks,” Dr. Sondhi added.
At Bhim Rao Ambedkar College too, teachers were reportedly demanding the release of their salaries.
Meanwhile, the Delhi University Teachers' Association in a statement condemned “the Principal of Maharaja Agrasen College for falsely implicating the teachers.”. The DUTA demanded that the university administration resolve the issue.
Regarding the “no work, no pay” stance of the university, the DUTA claimed that “teachers will not be cowed down by threats of wage cut and salary deduction”.
It further rejected the university orders to teachers to sign an undertaking that they would teach as per the semester system. “No teacher should submit any undertaking or mark attendance or be involved with the conduct of the semester end examination,” the statement said.
The teachers' association plans to hold a demonstration outside the Vice-Chancellor's office on November 10.