THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The University Institute of Technology (UIT) centres under Kerala University (KU) are heading towards deep crisis after the services of 20 of their staff members were terminated.
As per the order KU issued early in April following its Syndicate’s decision, the annual employment contract of a total 20 employees, including teaching and non-teaching staff, from all 29 UIT centres were not renewed after its tenure ended on March 31.
However, KU officers said nothing was set in stone and a final decision on the termination would be taken in the KU Syndicate meeting on April 30.
Sources said the move to not renew the contracts was in retaliation for the legal action a majority of staff earlier took against the termination of their contracts. Seven employees who crossed the maximum age limit of 60 years are also among those terminated. The latter were terminated despite submitting a memorandum to former VCs seeking to extend their retirement age to 65 years.Mohan (name changed), 62, alleged he had no prior information of his termination and got to know of it only after the contract of other employees came.
“I came to know of the termination only after the list of the new contractual agreement was published. Now, at this age, I cannot find a job and that too in such a short span of time. It is a huge blow to me as I am the sole breadwinner of my family,” he said.
Penalised for moving court?
The contracts of employees who had moved the court against the university’s decision to terminate them were also not renewed, a move which the staff termed ‘ironical.’
“It is ironical the varsity has terminated us first as a means to seek revenge. The termination of 20 employees will create a sudden dearth of teachers in UITs, which will also affect the credibility and quality of the institution,” said Arun Babu (name changed).
Previous varsity order
A KU order sent to 29 UIT centres in the state earlier this year had specified the engagement of staff on contract basis is not permitted after the age of 60 years.
The principals of UIT centres were asked to not forward the engagement requests of such employees. The rule also applied to those turning 60 by the contract’s ending period in March this year.
At present, UIT centres employ contract and guest lecturers. The principals are retired professors from government educational institutions.
M Lenin Lal, UIT convenor and KU Syndicate member, told Express the decision on termination was not final.
“A final decision will be taken in the next Syndicate meeting on April 30,” he said. Syndicate member K H Babujan said the same.
“We have not decided anything yet, even though contract agreements of some teachers did not arrive. We have taken up the matter and will discuss it on April 30 after which we will come up with a final decision,” Babujan said.
Most of the teachers in UITs are extremely qualified and had taken up the job with the hope their services would be regularised sooner or later.