Kerala govt staff call off strike

Government offices and schools in the State were back on track with Left-inclined employees’ trade unions calling off their six-day strike early on Monday.

The unions called off the stir launched on January 8 demanding, among other things, repeal of the decision to introduce contributory pension for government employees who join the service from April 1, 2013, after hours-long discussion with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Finance Minister K M Mani on Sunday night.

The government refused to retract its decision to introduce contributory pension for freshers from next financial year, which is the norm now across the country, but agreed to set up a panel to look into the other demands, including depositing the money of the contributory pension in the treasury account.  

In a statement, the coordinating committee of the employees’ and teachers’ unions said in view of the assurance given by the government, the strike was temporarily withdrawn.

Earlier, the government machinery came to a halt whenever the government employees belonging to the Left unions had gone on strikes. But this time, nearly 70 per cent of the employees, even the members of the striking unions, reported for duty.

“It was sure that the strike would be a flop if it continued and realising it the unions saved their faces by withdrawing the strike at the first available chance,’’ said a union leader on condition of anonymity.

Perhaps, he is right as the government has not conceded a single demand. Criminal cases registered against the employee will not be withdrawn and the days the employees had struck work will be treated as dies non (no work no pay). Leaders say that dies non is the main deterrent.

Now, employees’ are paid fairly good salaries and majority are not ready to lose even a day’s salary.Moreover, contributory pension does not affect them. So, a major chunk of employees had kept off the stir. 

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