The Joint Administrative Council (JAC) of the All Manipur Trade Unions Council and the All Manipur Government Employees Organisation had notified all government employees to abstain from duty from Monday onwards as part of intensification of the cease-work strike launched from January 16 demanding revised pay scale as recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission. However, there was no report on whether the employees had agreed to it. A few weeks ago, employees in essential services such as electricity, public health, engineering and health had joined the strike at the behest of the JAC. However, the government came down heavily on the employees by invoking the provisions of the Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1984. The government is still refusing to release the arrested employees.

A government source said that Chief Secretary D.S. Poonia had been instructed to supervise the collection of the attendance registers of the government departments in and around Imphal while the district collectors would do the same in the districts to establish whether there was unauthorised absence from duty. Apart from the ‘no work, no pay' policy being adopted against the striking employees, those absent from duty without authorisation would be penalised.

The employees are demanding the payment of the revised pay scale and arrears with retrospective effect from January 1, 2006.

However, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi, who also holds the Finance portfolio, said it would require Rs. 1,000 crore to clear the arrears. Since the State coffer had no fund, it was simply out of question. He, however, said that the employees were being paid the revised pay scale from April 1, 2010. Mr. Ibobi further said that about 80,000 employees cannot take the people to ransom in this manner.

The government sources said that as there “is no massive response” to the strike call, there was no obstruction of the official works.

Most of the employees have realised the financial crunch the government is facing and they were ready to accept the government policy in this regard.

Meanwhile, trade union leaders from New Delhi have been coming to Imphal to impress upon the officials to pay the arrears on instalment basis.

However, the officials did not make any commitment.