The Chief Minister had, at a meeting convened by him here the other day, declared that there was no other option but to persist with the proposal to go in for the contributory pension scheme for all new recruits to the State service.

The token strike called on Tuesday by State employees and teachers’ organisations owing allegiance either to the Left Democratic Front or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to press their demand for scrapping the proposed contributory pension scheme is likely to affect the functioning of government offices and educational institutions in the State.

The strike has been called separately by pro-Left and pro-BJP organisations. Although pro-United Democratic Front employees and teachers’ organisations too has initially decided to align their strike plans with that of the pro-Left unions, they have since withdrawn their strike call heeding Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s appeal.

The Chief Minister had, at a meeting convened by him here the other day, declared that there was no other option but to persist with the proposal to go in for the contributory pension scheme for all new recruits to the State service.

In a joint statement here on Monday, Action Council of State Government Employees and Teachers chairman M. Shajahan, Teachers’ and Service Organisations Action Council general convener C.R. Joseprakash and Federation of Employees and Teachers’ Organisations (FETO) general secretary P. Sunil Kumar accused the government of having forced the strike upon the employees and teachers.

The government had declared its intention to go ahead with the pension scheme after the Chief Minister had stated in the Assembly on June 11 and 25 that the government was not contemplating such a scheme, they said.

The UDF government led by A.K. Antony had come up with a similar proposal during 2002 and had given it up only when the employees and teachers went on an indefinite strike.

This also showed that there was no meaning in the Chief Minister’s claim that the move for the contributory pension scheme was prompted by the straitened finances of the State government.

The government has announced that ‘dies non’ (no work, no pay) norm will apply to employees and teachers who go on strike.