Jammu and Kashmir government employees struck work for the fifth consecutive day Saturday and took out a rally in Srinagar demanding wage arrears according to the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations.

Hundreds of striking employees took out a rally from the S.M.H.S. hospital and proceeded towards the old secretariat.

More than 4.5 lakh employees have been on strike across the state.

“The government had promised to pay arrears to its employees as per the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission. Yesterday (Friday), Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather presented the budget in the assembly and said the government had no money to pay arrears to its employees. The government’s commitment has become a joke. We will continue our struggle till our demands are met,” said a representative of the striking employees.

Besides the payment of arrears, the employees are also demanding the enhancement of the retirement age from 58 years to 60.

All the schools which opened on Monday after the winter recess in the Valley remained closed for the fifth day as teachers have also joined the employees’ strike.

“If the employees fail to see reason, the government would be compelled to take stringent measures as we cannot afford to watch to the situation as mute spectators,” the finance minister told reporters in winter capital Jammu.

“The principle of no-work-no-pay can also be invoked against the striking employees,” he added.