UP: No Dec Salary, Regularisation of Non-Teaching Staff; AMU Employees Union to Protest Again
Lucknow: About 1,559 non-teaching staff of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), who had called off their strike last month after Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor assured them that their contracts would be renewed and they would soon receive extension letters, have decided to renew their protest from January 16.
The staff had gone on strike on December 30 over non-payment of salaries for the last month and permanent appointment at the varsity. Most of the protesters are temporary workers employed on a daily wage basis.
"We called off the protest after the VC promised to meet our demands in a day or two, including our extension letters along with salary for December, but this has not been fulfilled after more than 10 days. No one wants to protest against the university, but we have been forced to do so as it is a matter of our livelihood. The administration’s failure to release our salaries for December has forced us to do this," Faisal Rayees, president of the Technical Staff Association, told NewsClick.
"Due to non-receipt of salaries on time, many of us have been unable to pay for our daily expenses and are under constant stress. Some of us have sought loans from banks and are being penalised for late payments," an employee told NewsClick.
Explaining the process of extension period from where the panic among employees started, the union president further said: "Before 2015, there was an extension every five months but the former vice-chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah changed it to one year and since then the same process is being followed. The extension of 1,559 staff was renewed on December 31, 2021 till December 2022, but it was not renewed by the current VC Tariq Mansoor," he said, adding that a large section of staff had been working on temporary basis for more than a decade but due to administrative failure, they were under acute mental stress as they had not been regularised.
"If someone is retiring, then the department concerned gives an advertisement, but unfortunately there is no selection committee for non-teaching staff. Even the government asked the university administration to make a schedule for non-teaching but this has never been done," Rayees said.
The union leaders said they had been raising the demand for job regularisation for a long time now but the state government just made hollow promises.
There are four categories under non-teaching staff — ministerial, secretarial, multi-tasking staff and technical staff.
"Lower division clerk, registrar, finance officer, controller and even vice chancellor comes under the ministerial category of non-teaching staff while the entry point in secretarial includes stenographer, personal assistant, senior personal assistant and personal secretary. The 4th grade employees including gardener technical staff, driver, sanitation worker etc. are known as multi-tasking staff after the recommendation of 6th Pay Commission," the union said.
NewsClick also spoke with Shamim Akhtar, associate professor at Centre of Continuing and Adult Education and Extension and general secretary of AMU Employees Union, to understand the ongoing chaos. He said: "Is this justice that you take work for 30 days and when it comes to pay, the university administration turns a deaf ear? Furthermore, the tenure of non-teaching staff ends on December 31 every year, they get extension letters on January 1 automatically. Though it was assured that salary would be disbursed in a day or two, nothing has been done.”
Talking about 'laxity' of university administration in terms of regularisation of non-teaching staff, Akhtar said: "Even the Supreme Court order is to regularise contractual employees after three years of service and performance. They should at least be given a chance but nothing seems working on the ground. In 2020, a sanitation worker who was deputed at MM Hall died after 27 years of service but was not regularised. Hence, he was not eligible for any compensation, gratuity and pension. Another pump attendant Rajab Ali retired two months ago. He, too, is also not eligible for any perks and benefits."
The union leaders also claimed that they keep writing to the university registrar who is accountable but they never ever get any reply from him about the reason behind the process. "It is not the creation of the current vice-chancellor that 1,559 posts of non-teaching staff are not regularised. This has happened for decades. The previous vice-chancellors should be held accountable for this, as it took 25-27 years to make a decision whether he/she should deserve permanent status or not," Akhtar said.
A union leader on the condition of anonymity told NewsClick: "The root cause of all the problems is favouritism in every department. Anybody who is close to the head of department, he/she gets permanent status. The selection committee for non-teaching staff has never met, no matter if one dies or serves for more than a decade. People are fearful to speak against government policies, and the administration."
Mohammad Wasim, the university proctor, claimed it was "due to lack of funds" that salary had not been disbursed to the employees. "The vice-chancellor and university administration are in touch with UGC (University Grants Commission) as the funds have not been released by the government. Salaries will be given as soon as the fund arrives," he said.
NewsClick also tried to contact AMU registrar Mohd Imran but in vain.
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