Friday, December 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Govt declares postal strike illegal
Unions not to withdraw stir
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Dec 14 — A day after the Delhi High Court asked the Centre to ensure the restoration of normalcy in postal services across the country, the government today declared the ongoing indefinite strike by six lakh postal employees “illegal” and warned of action against the striking employees under the Industrial Disputes Act.

“The ongoing indefinite strike by postal employees has been declared illegal and the agitators are liable for legal action under the Industrial Disputes Act,” the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner, Mr G.R. Majhi said.

The two-page directive from the government communicated to the office-bearers of the three key federations which are spearheading the strike said, “No person employed in the public utility service shall go on strike during the pendency of conciliation proceedings currently on”.

“I hope good sense will prevail upon you, and will call off the strike to restore normalcy so that it may create a congenial atmosphere for a meaningful dialogue across the table,” Mr Majhi said.

The three federations — the National Federation of Postal Employees, the Federation of National Postal Organisations and Bhartiya Postal Employees Federations — had started the indefinite strike on Tuesday last demanding immediate implementation of wage revision and other related benefits.

After the Delhi High Court asked the Centre yesterday to ensure the restoration of normalcy in postal services across the country within two days, the Communications Minister Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, had consulted the Law Ministry on legal steps for ending the strike.

Mr Paswan had also warned the agitating postal employees to call off the strike or face the consequences.

Mr Paswan, who held negotiations with the employees’ unions regarding their demands in the past few days, took the stand that most of the internal demands, including changing the name of Extra Departmental (ED) employees had been accepted, while those which could have a bearing on the other departments were being scrutinised by the GoM.

He said while the government was willing to talk to the unions on their demand, they should resume work immediately as “we can’t allow them to cause hardship for the public.”

The indefinite strike by postal workers pushing for higher wages and regularising 3,00,000 extra departmental employees has entered the 10th day today.

The Group of Ministers (GoM) on Post headed by the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, which held an hour-long meeting today decided to deal firmly with the strike.

PTI adds: However, ignoring the government’s threat the postal unions today resolved to continue with their stir till all their demands were met.

“The unions will not be pressurised by the government’s announcement today and will go ahead with the indefinite strike”, G.K. Padmanabhan, Secretary-General of the Federation of National Postal Organisations, told PTI after a meeting of the Joint Council of Action (JCA) which reviewed the development.

“The JCA met here and reviewed the developments and considered the impact of the Delhi High Court judgement. It resolved to go ahead with the strike and continue to fight till all demands are settled,” Mr Padmanabhan said.

As members from Left parties sought to raise the issue during Zero Hour, Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi announced that he had allowed a calling attention motion on it and the members could put forth their views then.

The Lok Sabha will tomorrow take up a calling attention motion on the ongoing postal strike.Back

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