The six-day-old strike by pro-Left employees and teachers in Kerala against government’s decision to introduce Contributory Pension Scheme has been called off with the unions accepting some proposals made by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
The Congress-led UDF government stood firm by its decision to introduce Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) for the employees joining the State service from April 1 this year but assured the unions of creating a mechanism to examine any difficulty for employees that could arise while implementing the new scheme.
With the government toughening its stand and the unions finding it difficult to carry on with the stir indefinitely, both the parties relented from their hard position and the first round of talks were held with Finance Minister K M Mani.
This was followed by a meeting of union leaders and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy past midnight and the union leaders announced the decision to end the strike in the wee hours today.
The government agreed that the Centre would be asked to include the State treasury in the list of financial institutions for administering the pension fund.
Also, while working out details of CPS it would be ensured that the minimum pension for even the employee in the lowest grade would not be less than the amount guaranteed under the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) scheme.
Well before the strike started on January 8, the government had firmly ruled out withdrawal of its decision to bring in CPS holding that the State could no longer afford Statutory Pension Scheme as over 80 per cent of its revenue had been spent on payment of salary and pension.
Mr Chandy had also dubbed the strike as “politically motivated” accusing the unions of carrying out the agenda of the CPI(M)-led LDF.
The strike, which partly affected functioning of offices and schools, had been marred by sporadic violence in some parts of the State.