Uttarakhand employees strike virtually paralysing the functioning of the government

During the past one month, over 30,000 babus, called ministerial services employees in the hill state, are on indefinite strike, virtually paralysing the functioning of the government.

Despite repeated appeals issued by the government, the bubus appear to be in no mood to relent, even threatening to prolong the strike. The striking employees are demanding pay scales at par with the central government employees. “We have got the benefits of the 6th Pay Commission. But our pay scales are still lower than those of the central government’s,” said a union leader of the employees.

The government, which is still fighting with the burden of the pay commission, has been holding parleys with the employees but a deadlock still persisted on Monday. In a fresh appeal issued today, Principal Secretary Shatrughan Singh asked the employees to return to work or face dire consequences.

“We are initiating action against a couple of the top striking leaders and would even invoke Esma. If the strike continues, others will also be punished,” said a top official said.

Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriya Nishank has already told the officials to accept the bare minimum demands of the striking employees.

According to President of Uttarakhand Federation of Ministerial Services Association (UFMSA) T S Pundir, the government had backtracked on its earlier agreement reached last year on the higher pay scales.

As the strike prolongs, the work is suffering in the hill state.

“Files are not moving in our offices due to the strike. It seems everything is at a standstill,” admitted a district magistrate. However, a section of employees have reported back to work in Tehri district, officials here said.

The government has already implemented the pay commission recommendations with retrospective effect from Jan 1, 2006 giving benefits to nearly 163,000 employees and over 40,000 pensioners. According to an estimate, the 6th Pay Commission has put an annual burden of Rs 4,000 crore on the state exchequer.

Source : Business Standard.

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