State employees of 130 Government departments in Uttar Pradesh went on an indefinite strike on Tuesday to press for their charter of demands, including removal of anomalies in the salary structure for employees working in corporations and restoration of the old pension scheme.
Their demands have been pending for a long time. This is the biggest strike by the State employees after a gap of 19 years.
The Rajya Karamchari Adhikari Manch, an umbrella organisation of the different employee unions claimed that about 16 lakh employees all over the State have gone on indefinite strike. The unions claimed that the indefinite strike was a success with the participation of the employees being 55 to 60 per cent.
However, the Government claimed that the strike evoked mixed response and attendance in most of the offices was normal. The State I-G (Law and Order), Raj Kumar Vishwakarma, said the main effect of the strike was seen in the education and health departments. Mr. Vishwakarma told reporters that 20 per cent of the employees in the education and health departments abstained from work, whereas in the Irrigation, Public Works Department (PWD) and Rural Engineering Services (RES) departments about 15 to 20 per cent employees joined the strike.
In the other departments five to seven per cent employees participated in the stir, Mr. Vishwakarma said adding the strike evoked very little response in Jawahar Bhawan and Indira Bhawan here which house the largest number of Government offices.
He said the strike was peaceful and no arrests were made.The State employees have been agitating for the acceptance of their 31-point charter of demands with several rounds of talks between the Government and the leaders of the two biggest employees unions–Rajya Karmchari Sangh (State Employees Union ) and Rajya Karmchari Sanyukt Parishad ( State Employees’ Joint Federation)–ending in a deadlock.
Besides, demanding pay parity in accordance with the Sixth Pay Commission for Corporation employees and increase in the wages of clerical cadre working in the State Secretariat, the unions have been pressing for salary hike for junior engineers.
They have also demanded that the staff of Zila Panchayats, Basic Education Board, and King George’s Medical University be declared as State employees.
In 1994, the State employees had struck work for a record period of 54 days.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India have supported the demands of the striking employees.