IIT faculty resorts to mass leave

Unhappy with their revised pay package, about 450 professors from the Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay (IIT-B) went on a day long mass casual leave on Monday.

They were protesting the “unacceptable pay structure” under the Sixth Pay Commission fixed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

The All-India Faculty Federation has submitted a memorandum to the ministry and will await a response till September 4. If the ministry does not respond till then, the professors have threatened to go on a hunger strike on September 5, which is celebrated as Teachers’ Day.

Union Minister for Ministry of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal said he would look into the matter and discuss with the officials concerned.

Holding a huge banner that read ‘Dignity at Stake’, IIT-B professors carried out a silent protest around the campus. “The packages offered will not attract fresh talent in the campus,” said Professor Bharat Seth, president, IIT-B Faculty Forum.

For instance, under the new package, PhD students will be hired only after a three-year work experience outside IIT, else they must be hired as lecturers on contracts.

“However, under the existing system, PhD student can be directly hired as assistant professors. In a scenario where getting faculty is tough, we won’t get anyone if the new rule comes into place,” said Seth.

The ministry has also not agreed to scholastic pay of Rs 15,000 to be given as entry-level qualification for PhD students, which exists in science institutions like Defence Research and Development Organisation.

The faculty at IIT-Madras also went on mass casual leave on Monday, while those at IIT-Delhi will do so on Tuesday.

Source: Hindustan Times

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