|Tuesday, February 1, 2000,
staff strike called off
JAMMU, Jan 31 Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, has succeeded where the cabinet subcommittee had failed by resolving the 42-day administrative crisis following an indefinite staff strike. The strike was called to protest against non-payment of two instalments of DA and arrears of the Fifth Pay Commission.
The Chief Minister held a late-night meeting with leaders of Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC), where the issue was resolved. EJAC leaders called off the strike, which had paralysed work at the civil secretariat and other government departments including hospitals and educational institutions.
Under the terms of agreement the government has agreed to pay in cash DA and wage arrears from January 1, 2000 while money in lieu as two instalments of DA and arrears of the fifth Pay Commission implementation till December 31, 1999 would be credited to the provident fund of the employees.
Though the Finance Minister, Mr A.R. Rather, was present at the meeting, Dr Abdullahs plainspeaking with the EJAC leaders turned the trick. In fact employees had been waiting for the Chief Minister to intervene all along. Which he did only after the government unnerved the employees by its decision to go in for fresh recruitment.
The EJAC leaders had given an assurance that they would call off the strike if the government revoked orders issued during the strike period, which included one under which secretariat services were made transferable with the field services. The government has agreed to review all these orders, including suspension orders served against 28 employees.
The Chief Minister explained that the precarious financial position of the state, forced the government to credit wage arrears and DA instalments to the provident fund of the employees. He said that he take up the subject with the Planning Commission during discussion of the states plan in Delhi shortly.
He said he already apprised the centre that without its financial assistance it was not possible for the state to meet the genuine demands of the employees.
With the end of the strike the state government has decided to revoke the Essential Services Maintenance Ordinance to facilitate the release of 38 employees arrested during the past 40 days.
The decision was taken by the state Cabinet at a meeting here today.
The Chief Minister briefed his Cabinet colleagues over yesterday nights deliberations which resulted in the calling off of the 42-day strike. The Cabinet endorsed the decision.
The Cabinet also agreed to revoke orders of suspension served against those employees who had been arrested and decided not to press for transfer of civil secretariat employees to field postings.
With the end of the strike, most employees today attended office. The locks of several wards in different hospitals were opened after a gap of 42 days. However, attendance in several departments and schools in the rural areas was thin as the news of the agreement had not yet reached employees. Some employees in several rural areas, including R.S. Pora, said they would resume their duties only after their leaders informed them about the terms of the agreement.
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