Over 500 Guest Lecturers of Government Colleges from all over Tamil Nadu are on indefinite hunger fast in Department of Public Institute Campus of Chennai. They are demanding pay of Rs 25000 per month as per the recommendations of UGC. Two protesters who fainted yesterday have been hospitalized.
According to members of Tamil Nadu Guest Lecturers Welfare Union(Shift I & II), there are over 3411 guest lecturers working in over 89 Government colleges in Tamil Nadu.These MPhil/Phd post graduates are paid
Rs10000 for 10 months. While they have been working for more than 12 to 15 years, their position is still temporary with no medical or pension benefits. They allege that instead of paying any benefits, the Government deducts upto Rs 900 per year as service tax. While they have to take classes for 16 hours a week, there is no compensation for preparation. In addition, they also need to support labs and other activities in colleges.
The members say that the UGC scale for guest lecturers is Rs 25000 to be paid for all 12 months. As they work during all the months in various capacities including conducting examinations, evaluations of papers etc, they are demanding their pay to be the same as UGC to be paid for all 12 months. The UGC pay scale is being paid in other states including Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and West Bengal.
The union has been highlighting the issue since September of 2015, when they protested in Chepauk. Their current struggle for wages started in January 28th when they refused to take classes any more. Since then, they have conducted various protests including road roko, surrendering their certificates, gheraoing Joint Directorate office, protest infront of District Collectors and have been detained twice.
There has been no response from the Government officials on their struggle in spite of having met with Higher Education Minister, Secretary, Director of Communication in DPI. Since February 15th, over 500 members of the union have been camped in the DPI campus. They have started an indefinite fast since February 17th. Some unions including Tamil Nadu Government College Teachers Union and PG Teachers Union have expressed support.
Update: The struggle was withdrawn after State Government committed to increase the wages from Rs 10000 to Rs15000.