Restoration of Old Pension Scheme: Govt. employees to go on indefinite strike from May 1

Strike ballots were held in Railways, various departments and PSUs under the Centre with unions claiming to have received nearly 100% support of employees

February 29, 2024 12:13 am | Updated 01:50 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Joint Forum for Restoration of Old Pension Scheme, Central government employees including railway and defence employees to observe “relay Hunger Fast”, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on January 11, 2024.

Joint Forum for Restoration of Old Pension Scheme, Central government employees including railway and defence employees to observe “relay Hunger Fast”, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on January 11, 2024. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

A platform of trade unions and associations working among 28 lakh employees of the Union government, including the Railways and Central Public Sector Undertakings, and more than three crore employees and teachers with the State governments have decided to go on an indefinite strike from May 1 demanding the restoration of Old Pension Scheme (OPS) replacing the present National Pension Scheme (NPS).

The steering committee of the platform, the Joint Forum For Restoration of Old Pension Scheme (JFROPS) has unanimously decided to serve strike notices on March 19 to respective administrations.

Also Read:Why is the government tweaking the National Pension System?

Talks with Centre collapse

Convener of the JFROPS and general secretary of All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) Shiv Gopal Mishra told The Hindu that the decision to go for the strike was taken after discussions with the Centre over the issue collapsed.

Mr. Mishra is also the secretary (staff side) of the Joint Consultative Machinery (JCM) chaired by the Cabinet Secretary. “We held several protests demanding restoration of OPS. We wrote letters to Prime Minister and Finance Minister urging them to restore OPS. We have also been raising this issue in the JCM meetings, but the government ignored our demands and we are now forced to go on an indefinite strike,” he said.

Ahead of the strike call, strike ballots were held in Railways, various departments and PSUs under the Centre and unions claim that they received nearly 100% support of the employees.

Also Read | Why we need to debate the Old Pension Scheme

“Government employees have waited for 20 years patiently by observing protest programmes without hampering the functioning of the government. Successive governments are ignoring our demand and continuing with the hopeless National Pension Scheme. Recently, Judicial Pay Commission has recommended for defined and guaranteed pension for judges. Why the government employees are discriminated?” asked general secretary of All India Defence Employees Federation C. Srikumar.

Insensitivity to genuine grievances

He added that the strike was imposed on the employees since the government is insensitive towards their genuine grievances and all unions except the pro-government Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) will participate in the strike.

When asked what would happen if the model code of conduct for general elections comes into action by the time of serving the strike notice, Mr. Mishra said they want the issue of OPS to be discussed in the elections.

“This is an issue that involves lives of crores of people. Let the people discuss and decide on our demands. Even if the model code of conduct comes in picture, the Cabinet will be there, the Cabinet secretary will be there and they can take a decision on our demand,” Mr. Mishra said.

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