Staff strike over contributory pension scheme records partial success, bus strike for wage hike remains total
A strike called by the government employees and teachers owing allegiance to the Left unions, in protest against the implementation of the contributory pension scheme for new recruits, evoked partial response in the district on Tuesday. But the bus strike called by the workers was near total in the district. The strike affected KSRTC services also.
The government offices registered 60 per cent attendance on the first day of the employees’ strike on Tuesday. District Collector M.C. Mohandas said out of the 27,545 employees working in different government departments in the district, as many as 16,647 attended office on Tuesday. Nearly 8,755 employees kept away from work as part of the strike.
The District Collector has directed the heads of various departments to report to him the attendance of the employees by 10.30 a.m. He said his office may be contacted at 0483-2739571, 2734421, 9746185504 or 9846401301.
The action council of striking employees claimed here on Tuesday that the strike was a success. The council said only 66 of the 190 employees at the Collectorate had attended duty. It claimed that the District Registrar Office, Irrigation Sub-Division Office, and Irrigation Section Office did not function at all because of the strike. The striking employees took out marches at different places in the district. Kerala School Teachers Union (KSTU) said the teachers in the State had rejected the strike call against the participatory pension scheme. The KSTU State president C.P. Cheriyamohammed and general secretary A.K. Sainudheen said here that only 28 per cent of the teachers had kept away from work despite the unavailability of buses.
The functioning of government offices and educational institutions here was affected on the first day of the indefinite strike called by the pro-Left Democratic Front and pro-Bharatiya Janata Party employees’ and teachers’ unions in the State against the contributory pension scheme.
A lower division clerk at the Kallyasseri panchayat office who reported for duty was beaten up at the office by two supporters of the strike. The police said that the clerk, Suresh Kumar, was manhandled by two persons who came on a motorbike. He has been admitted to hospital with injuries.
The Taluk Office at Taliparamba witnessed tension when a group of strike supporters encountered the employees who reached the office in the morning. When the situation was on the verge of being out of control, the police intervened.
The striking teachers clashed with their non-striking counterparts at Peralassery School.
According to official figures, 1,140 of the 2,660 government employees in the district reported for duty on Tuesday. While 202 employees were on leave, 1,318 participated in the strike. Of the total 192 employees in the Revenue Department in the Collectorate, 78 were present and 11 were on leave. In the Treasury here, 30 employees of the total 59 reported for duty. As many as 65 of the total 93 employees in the District Police Office here rejected the strike call.
Education officials here said that an average 50 per cent of teachers in schools in the district reported for duty. Striking teachers and employees staged a demonstration in the town and held a public meeting.
Public transport facilities in the district were affected on Tuesday, with a section of the KSRTC employees also joining the indefinite strike called by the Left employees’ unions in protest against the State’s moves to implement contributory pension scheme. The crew of private buses have been on strike since Monday demanding wage hike.
Lack of transportation facilities affected trade and other commercial activities in the district. The attendance at government offices and schools were also low. The attendance at the District Collectorate was around 35 per cent, according to Additional District Magistrate H. Dineshan. However, KSRTC operated a few services in select routes in the morning. But as the day progressed, these services were also suspended. Sources in the KSRTC said that five services were operated from the Kasaragod depot on the day.
Long distance travellers depended on trains. Autorickshaws and two-wheelers also plied in large numbers.
The indefinite State-wide strike called by the pro-LDF and pro-BJP State employees and teachers against the move to launch contributory pension scheme on Tuesday hit the normal life in Wayanad district.
Attendance was low in government offices and schools. Only 68 out of the 148 employees turned up for duty at the Collectorate here, District Collector K. Gopalakrishna Bhatt said. N.P. Mathew, Additional District Magistrate, said as many as 188 out of the 469 employees under the Revenue Department in the district turned up for duty.
Only 20 employees attended the office of the District Police Superintendent here, he added. The indefinite State-wide strike called by private bus operators multiplied the hardships of the public. The KSRTC operated 75 out of the 82 buses schedules for its Sulthan Bathery depot, including the inter-State and long-route services. Though the KSRTC had operated the schedules normally, the daily collection came down to 50 per cent owing to the employees’ strike. But, parallel service of taxis, including jeeps and mini vans, provided solace to them to a certain extent.