In support of their various demands, the students’ body of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Guwahati boycotted the ongoing process of admission and interviews on Monday.
The educational institute in the city has already faced a crisis with 14 faculty members taking mass leave in protest against some decisions of the management.
According to reports, the 14 members of the teaching staff out of 25 were hired by the TISS administration on contractual basis and have been serving in the institute for the past six years.
Media reports say that not only teaching staff, the Guwahati campus of the institute also has no permanent non-teaching staff.
It has been reported that over the past year, the members of the teaching staff have been approaching the Mumbai administration, which holds central power, but no proper response has been made to address the issues.
Among these 14 faculty members of the institute, there are department chairpersons, centre heads, conveners of various committees and wardens of hostels.
However, it was decided to halt the boycott till April 3 following assurance from TISS director Shalini Bharat to address the issues raised by the students and the faculty members.
The admission process in the education institute in Guwahati will continue till April 4.
Bharat reportedly assured of raising the issue at a governing body meeting on April 2 to be held at TISS Mumbai which would be attended as a representative by the deputy director of the Guwahati campus of TISS, Kalpana Sarathy.
In a statement, the protesting students and faculty members said that some of the contractual employees and faculty members have been working at TISS, Guwahati since 2013.
It has been alleged that there were verbal assurances given by the then director of the institute, more than once, that their jobs would be regularised.
It was assured that the period of serving the institute before regularisation would be considered as the probation period, but, in reality, the agitating staff members alleged that their working condition has only deteriorated ever since then.
“Many faculty members have been forced to leave the institute since their issues have never been addressed. Those faculty members who have been recruited since then have had to face worse job conditions. Some of them are not even paid according to the pay scale which was promised to them in the advertisement, thus, making their work period as good as useless, as these years will not count as experience for career advancement,” the agitating students and faculty members said in the statement.
“Our female colleagues could not even avail maternity leave, because they were given only three months contract. What’s more, this issue not only affects the faculty staff but is also engulfing non-teaching faculty staff, right from the janitors and cooks to the technical supervisor of the campus. The issues of this section of the campus staff have been illustrated ahead,” it added.
The statement also said: “Despite all these issues which the faculty members on contract have had to go through, they have not compromised in their commitment to teaching, supervising students, and discharging other administrative responsibilities. All the faculty members on contract have worked despite not even having a letter of employment in their hands.”
The issues of job security, regularisation of jobs, better working condition have been raised repeatedly in the past, but the issues are yet to be settled by the authorities of TISS Guwahati campus.
The protesting students and faculty members have decided to wait for the outcome of the governing body meeting to be held on Tuesday. Till then, the institute authority has decided not to go ahead with the remaining days of pre-interview tests and interviews this week.
However, the institute authority has called in faculty members from other campuses to conduct course-specific interviews.