Around 8,000 teachers of Delhi University went on an indefinite strike on Monday to demand increase in their pay scales, days ahead of the pay commission's announcement on revised pay structure for university teachers.
"Teachers are not taking classes and I do not think classes will resume till we see action from the human resource development (HRD) ministry," said Inder Kapahi, professor of physics at the Kirori Mal College and member of the university executive council.
Teachers of the 75 colleges under the Delhi University, under the ambit of the Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA), coordinated the strike with their counterparts across 20 other central universities to emphasise the need to revise pay scales and include varsity professors in a higher pay band category.
"The revision of pay has been delayed too much. All other central government employees have seen benefits, only our teaching fraternity is yet to see any pay revision," said Kumar Rahul, a senior faculty member at the Ramjas college.
One of their demands is to include varsity readers and professors in pay band 4 (Rs.37,000 - Rs.67,000 monthly) of the pay commission.
Teachers in the existing pay scale are paid between Rs.12,000 and Rs.18,300 a month.
Kapahi, who was also involved in presenting recommendations to the pay commission and the HRD ministry, said: "The varsity teachers were going to be put in the lower pay band 3 which also includes primary school teachers. Our argument is to include us in the higher range."
However, some teachers termed the strike's timing "unfortunate".
"Students are going to enter a winter break from Dec 22. Then, once colleges reopen, exams are to be held. This is a crucial time for them," Rahul said.
During December, cultural activities on campus are on a high. The teachers, however, assure to make up for lost time with extra classes.
"It is unfortunate that the strike has happened before the announcement. With academic elections due on Dec 19, a resolve needs to be seen soon, else there may have to be another strike later if the awaited announcement does not meet demands," Kapahi said.
Students in the meantime are enjoying the 'break'.
"It is a nice break. It's like the weekend never ended. I called up my friends to tell them not to go to college. Instead we'll catch a movie," said Rahul, student of Kirori Mal College.