Public university teachers reject PM’s call to withdraw work abstention

Public university teachers reject PM’s call to withdraw work abstention

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Public university teachers have rejected Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s call to withdraw their strike against the new pay scale and to return to classes.
Prof Farid Uddin Ahmed, president of the Federation of Bangladesh University Teachers’ Associations (FBUTA), said on Monday that their protest would continue ‘until the restoration of their status’.
He alleged that teachers were being ‘neglected’. “We did not drift in here. We are here because of our qualification. We did not get any grace or quota facility,” Ahmed said.“We have never been backbenchers,” he added. On the day Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “The government will certainly consider if there is something to do about the teachers. But please do not stop teaching. The children will not accept it.”
The teachers, upset over ‘discrepancies’ in the Eighth National Pay Scale, began their protests about nine months ago when the draft of the new pay scale was revealed.
They said that it had downgraded their status by abolishing the time-scale and selection grade.
Teachers of 37 public universities across Bangladesh are taking part in the strike called by the FBUTA from Monday.
The prime minister said that salaries had been raised up to 123 percent in the new pay scale “Why are they so agitated even after such a hike in salaries,” she wondered.
In reaction, the head of the teachers association, Prof Ahmed, said, “Have only the salaries of teachers been increased? The salaries for peons and above have all been increased.”
He urged the prime minister to look into the cause of the protests. “There have never been such protests and unrest before, so the reason for them occurring now should be checked.” he said.
“We ask the honourable prime minister to check why there is unrest at all levels after the hike in salaries. She has to understand it,” Ahmed said.
He alleged that teachers had written to the prime minister five or six times to express their opinion on the pay scale, but got no reply.
Regarding the decision to continue the strike, he said, “What else can we do? We demonstrated for many days, but never boycotted classes and exams, or disrupted study.”
“Now we are compelled to go on strike,” he said. In response to the prime minister’s request, Ahmed said, “The demonstration will continue until the restoration of our status.”
Earlier in the day, he had blamed bureaucrats for the ‘discrepancies’ in the pay scale. “The bureaucrats have driven us to this. For nine months they behaved like the upper caste and refused to give us what we deserve,” he said. – Agencies

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