Agitation by a section of city Corporation employees following the suspension of six of their colleagues has caused an administrative standstill at the office.
The counters at the Corporation’s Janasevana Kendram and seats in other sections remained vacant after Urban Affairs Minister Manjalamkuzhi Ali issued the suspension order.
The six employees, members of the Kerala Municipality and Corporation Staff Union (KMCSU), including four Corporation employees, were suspended for allegedly assaulting UDF councillors during a picketing at the office on June 16.
On Monday, employees staged a Secretariat dharna organised by the Federation of State Employees and Teachers Organisation (FSETO).
This was the third such protest organised in connection with the incident in the last four working days.
Most of the KMSCU members abstained from coming to work in protest against the suspension, Kaimanam Prabhakaran, a corporation staff and secretary of Kerala Municipality and Corporation Staff Association (KMCSA), alleged. KMCSA is an employees’ union affiliated to the Indian National Congress (INC).
“Others who come to the office simply sign the attendance register and then disappear to take part in the agitations. All this is taking place with the silent consent of the Mayor, who is doing nothing about it,” he said.
Corporation LDF council leader and works standing committee chairman V.S. Padmakumar also said the Corporation office was dead for the past few days. He, however, added that employees dodged office due to fear of police arrest.
FIR on 150
“Apart from the suspension, FIR has been filed against 150 of our employees. Most of these people had no role in the incident. Policemen are visiting the houses of these people, because of which most of them are not even going home. This is really shameful. The State government and the police should not be hunting employees like this,” Mr Padmakumar said.
To break the impasse at the office, Mayor K. Chandrika convened a meeting of UDF and LDF councillors on Monday. She requested the UDF councillors to cooperate and not press charges against those who were not involved in the incident.
UDF council party leader Johnson Joseph, who took part in the meeting, said the coalition did not wish to unnecessarily victimise anyone.
“We only want the culprits to be arrested. There is no compromise on taking strict action against councillors, including lady councillors, who are elected people’s representatives. However, we don’t want to victimise innocent people who were not involved in the assault,” he said.
Corporation Tax-Appeal standing committee chairman P. Shyamkumar, Ambalathara councillor A. Mujeeb Rehman and Thampanoor councillor R. Harikumar also participated in the meeting.