INDIA's University Grants Commission has dusted down an old rule that bars salary payments to striking lecturers and told universities to enforce it strictly in an effort to check "indiscipline".
It has sent out a directive asking vice-chancellors to make sure that lecturers are not paid if they strike for "a day or more". The UGC warned vice-chancellors that if they do not crack the whip, the UGC will withhold its own salary grant to the universities for the strike period.
The tough stand follows a wave of strikes, including a month-long "shut down" at Delhi University late last year. Though the rule dates back to 1984 it has not been enforced seriously because of fear of a backlash from the powerful unions. The UGC's threat to stop its grant, however, leaves universities with few options.
Lecturers have called it a "black law" and vowed to defy it. S. S. Rathi, spokesman of the Delhi University Teachers' Association, said: "It is a provocative decision and we would fight it out."
He argued that the academic calendar provided for 180 teacher- days in a year and so long as staff logged those many days, even if it meant taking extra classes to make up for the time on strike, the UGC had no right to interfere.
UGC officials pointed out that lecturers in most universities, including Delhi University, had not been making up for the days lost due to strikes, hence its decision to invoke the "no work, no pay" principle.
12Jnews internationalTHE TIMES 7Jfebruary 20 1998 reuters