Jammu and Kashmir Government employees began a two-day strike

State Government employees Thursday began a two-day strike seeking full implementation of sixth pay commission recommendations.

The statewide strike, called by Employees Joint Consultative Committee, showed good impact in Kashmir and Ladakh regions where thousands of employees stayed away from work, though the essential services had been exempted from the strike. Office work remained affected in Jammu as well but the strike showed lesser impact in the winter capital.

Strike affected routine healthcare as outpatient departments in most hospitals across the state remained non-functional while only emergency services were working unhindered.

Hundreds of employees gathered in old secretariat here and staged a sit-in for around two hours amidst slogans against the Government and in favour of their demands.

The employees marched in a procession, led by JCC leader Abdul Qayoom Wani, towards Divisional Commissioner Kashmir’s office where they staged a protest sit-in. The employees presented a memorandum to the Divisional Commissioner, Naseema Lanker, about the Government’s agreement made with the employees in August, 2009.

Protest demonstrations were also held at district headquarters. Factionalism in the employees’ bodies created confusion in Jammu, which diluted the strike in the division. Some small demonstrations were held outside offices in the morning but there wasn’t any lockout of offices. No major protest demonstration were staged anywhere in the winter capital.

JK Employees Joint Action Committee - an amalgam of various employees associations, particularly from Jammu - is following its independent program.

The employees are demanding implementation of sixth pay commission recommendations in full, enhancement of retirement age from 58 to 60 years, regularization of daily wagers, release of housing rental allowance, etc. The Government had agreed to accept the demands and also to release arrears under sixth pay commission by October end. But it was not implemented resulting in fresh tussle between the JCC and the Government.

JCC leader Abdul Qayoom Wani termed today’s strike as successful, threatening an ‘intensified decisive agitation’ in the coming days.

The JCC leadership, he said, was meeting in Jammu on January 27 to decide the future course of action. “Our agitation will be decisive this time,” he said.
Reacting to the Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather’s statement about release of arrears, he said, “They are befooling the people. Government agreed to all our demands in August and now they are backtracking.”

The Finance Minister had yesterday said that Government couldn’t release the arrears unless the required funds come from the Centre.

“If the Government knew they couldn’t release the arrears in October why did they enter into an agreement with us? Only state employees are made to wait for their rights while others are ruling roost,” Qayoom said.

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