The Federation of Bangladesh University Teachers' Association (FBUTA) on Wednesday asked Finance Minister AMA Muhith to apologise within 24 hours for his “funny” remarks about public university teachers, saying he would be held responsible for any disorder on campuses.
The ultimatum was issued through a statement signed by FBUTA president Prof Farid Uddin Ahmed and its secretary general Prof ASM Maksud Kamal in the evening as the teachers were observing a work abstention programme to press home their demand for a separate pay scale.
"The Finance Minister has tarnished the good image of government and also frustrated the country’s teacher community through his funny remarks. He has to take the responsibility of any disorder on the campuses if he doesn’t withdraw his comments and say sorry to the teachers within 24 hours," said the statement.
It said the government has not entertained any of the teachers’ demands in the fresh pay scale and it has not given any clear direction to fulfill the demands. “Rather, the finance minister made baseless comments to the media.”
The FBUTA alleged that the position of the teachers has been lowered by four grades in the proposed pay scale in contrast with the seventh pay scale, which is humiliating and disgraceful for the teachers.
"In the seventh pay scale, teachers used to receive the highest status like secretaries but in the eighth pay scale, teachers have been lowered by four steps as there are two more special posts over grade-1. So, we are not able to get the status of grade-1 anymore as there is no selection grade in the fresh pay scale,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the teachers brought out processions and held rallies on the campuses across the country on Wednesday to press home their four-point demand, including a separate pay scale for them.
Earlier on Tuesday, dismissing teachers' claim that the new pay plan is disgraceful for them, Muhith brought allegations of corruption against them.
The row broke out between the teachers and the minister after teachers of all the 37 public universities in the country abstained from work on Tuesday, terming the new pay scale ‘disgraceful' for them.
Talking to the media on Tuesday, Muhith criticised the teachers' movement saying, "We’ve to control the corrupt practices of teachers. I don't see any reason why public university teachers are demanding a separate pay scale. The highly educated section is demonstrating for lack of knowledge."
Earlier on Monday, the cabinet, avoiding traditional selection grades and time-scale, approved the long-awaited pay scale for public servants.
While disclosing the new pay scale, Cabinet Secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said public university teachers will get their salaries as per their grade now, but their demand of a separate pay scale will be reviewed later.