For the second time in two weeks daily-wage employees on Thursday protested outside the Federal Directorate of Education over non-payment of salaries.
Over three hundred teachers and other staff, the majority of whom were women, held a sit-in outside the FDE building, choking traffic for more than four hours.
The sequence of events mirrored their most recent protest on December 2, when college staffers protested on Rohtas Road outside the FDE, later met new Director General Aamir Ashraf Khawaja, and dispersed after getting assurances that their demands would be met soon.
On Thursday, after teachers blocked the road, police officials and assistant commissioner reached the spot in the evening to negotiate with them and reopen the road.
“Why should we call off strike or go to our homes when nobody is paying heed to our problem despite clear orders from the court,” said Rabia, a megaphone-wielding teacher.
Fauzia Shaheen, another daily wage teacher said, “I have been teaching at a model college for the last two years without any salary”.
Ehsan Bangash, a teacher from Islamabad Model College for Boys (IMCB) F-8/4, said daily wage staffers have been serving in model colleges from many years, yet they are still deprived of their due right of regularisation of services as well as timely payment of salaries.
Later in the evening, the DG reached the office and spoke to a group of protesters, assuring them that a summary had been sent to the prime minister through the Cabinet Division a week ago and soon the committee for regularisation will be notified.
The Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue has raised objections to the large number of teachers and non-teaching staff and has asked for appointment letters, joining notifications, medical forms and other information before they would be considered for salary release.
The DG told The Express Tribune that he spoke with the finance additional secretary and AGPR deputy director to resolve the salary issue, adding that regularisation could only be done by the committee after the PM’s approval.
Meanwhile, a senior FDE official talked on the condition of anonymity that the objections from the AGPR were making mountains of molehills and prolonging the issue for no reason.
The Islamabad High Court had ordered the Cabinet Division to begin scrutiny of employees for regularisation by December 15, but with only three days left, the government has not even notified the scrutiny committee. On December 9, the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet also flayed the intransigence of the government to regularise the staffers.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2014.