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Rift between union leaders a cause for worry among government employees in Andhra Pradesh

A section of the employees sees it as a ‘ploy’ to encourage dissent between the associations and prevent them from putting up a united fight for achieving their justified demands

January 21, 2023 07:41 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 09:53 am IST - VIJAYAWADA

A wordy duel between the leaders of two unions representing the State government employees has caused worry among the employees that the real issues may get sidelined.

Of late, the government employees have been growing restive over the reportedly weak financial condition of the State, which, they say, reflects in the delay in release of their salaries, pensions and other monetary benefits.

Leaders of the main associations have raised serious concern over the “unprecedented financial crisis,” and have made representations seeking immediate steps by the government to address their concerns.

APGEA plea to Governor

Trouble started when a delegation of the A.P. Government Employees’ Association (APGEA), led by its president K.R. Suryanarayana, met Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan on Thursday, and urged him to direct the State government to resolve their issues at the earliest.

The APGEA move did not go down well with the leaders of the A.P. Non-Gazetted Officers’ (APNGOs) Association, who accused Mr. Suryanarayana of overstepping his role in meeting the Governor.

Association president Bandi Srinivasa Rao said the APGEA leader, in his enthusiasm to portray himself as the champion of the employees’ cause, had also hurled allegations at his association.

“After meeting the Governor, he addressed the media and spoke against another union, which is not right,” he argued.

Faulting Mr. Suryanarayana for meeting the Governor, he said it could even lead to de-recognition of his association.

He also refuted the APGEA charge that his association had diluted the tempo when the employees were gearing up for a State-wide protest in the past by assuring them that the government had agreed to most of their demands and that it would clear the arrears by Sankranti this year.

‘Publicity stunt’

President of the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat Employees’ Association Venkatarami Reddy also criticised Mr. Suryanarayana for meeting the Governor, calling it a “publicity stunt.”

“We met Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy just last week and discussed the employees’ issues. Why this hurry to rush to the Governor almost immediately after that,” he asked.

The emerging rift between the two union leaders is seen as a worrying factor by a section of the employees, who see it as a ploy to encourage dissent between the associations and prevent them from uniting in opposition.

‘Storm in a teacup’

Will this have an adverse impact on the proposed joint agitation by the various employees’ unions?

Chairman of the A.P. Joint Action Committee (JAC) Amaravati Bopparaju Venkateswarlu brushes aside the differences as a “storm in a teacup.”

“They may be talking against each other today due to frustration and pressure, but the employees’ interests are above everything else,” he said.

Referring to the proposed State conference of the APJAC Amaravati in Kurnool on February 5, he said the meeting would be used as a platform to chalk out an action plan, and all the unions would unitedly fight for the employees’ rights.

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