The teaching and non-teaching staff of St Joseph’s College of Arts and Science observed fast on the college premises here on Thursday urging the management to implement the Sixth Pay Commission salary and improve the working conditions.
Under the banner of St Joseph’s College Staff Welfare Association, they gathered on the college premises and raised slogans.
Listing out their demands, they also sent representations to the Arch Bishop, Arch Diocese of Puducherry and Cuddalore, that is managing the college, and to the Vice-Chancellor of Thiruvalluvar University, to which it is affiliated.
The Association in its representation stated that at a recent meeting presided by the Principal, the heads of departments took a decision to go on fast. In a resolution passed on the occasion, the association stated that considering the inflationary trend and the existing salary structure it had become difficult for the staff to meet their basic needs.
Therefore, it appealed to the Arch Bishop to implement the Sixth Pay Commission salary to the university approved staff in accordance with their qualifications and service.
In the case of those staff not approved by the university, a constructive system could be evolved to determine their pay structure.
The association also called for the revival of the earlier Employee Provident Fund system that was in vogue from the inception of college till June 2010. For improving the standard of the college that now enjoys autonomous status, it called upon the management to appoint qualified candidates with reasonable salary, at least Rs. 20,000 to start with.
The association also sought due representation for the senior teaching staff in the salary fixation mechanism and also in the finance committee of the institution.
The association urged the management to safeguard the powers of the Principal as provided under the statutes of Thiruvulluvar University and the Tamil Nadu Private Colleges Regulation Act 1976 to improve the academic administration of the college.
When contacted, college Secretary Rev. Fr. I. Ratchagar said that the institution was paying the highest salary to the staff by any standards. Though a self-financing college, it had kept the tuition fee structure at a reasonable level because 60 per cent of the 5,000-strong students were hailing from the economically backward segments of the society.
Fr. Ratchagar said that a meeting was scheduled for April 24 to find a negotiated settlement on the salary issue. But, instead of resolving the issue across the table the staff chose the path of agitation without giving any prior notice, he said.
Still there was ample time to hammer out a solution because, after all, the new salary structure would come into force only by July-end, Fr Ratchagar added.