Heading for showdown
Employees’ Refuse To Relent; Fresh Round Of Talks Today
SYED AMJAD SHAH/MUDDASIR ALI
Jammu/Srinagar, Apr 2: While the Jammu and Kashmir government is making fresh effort to calm down the tempers of the agitating employees, who are heading for a showdown to press for their demands, it is, at the same time, putting in place a `contingency plan’ to deal with the situation in case the employees’ proceed on strike.
In a last ditch effort to avert the employees proposed strike, the government has invited the representatives of the employees’ unions for another round of talks on Saturday with the Cabinet Sub-Committee, constituted for the purpose.
A high-level meeting was, meanwhile, held here in the civil secretariat this afternoon to chalk out a strategy and put in place a contingency plan if the employees resort to agitation path.
Official sources revealed that the government has once again invited the leaders of the Employees Joint Consultative Committee (JCC), Civil Secretariat Non-Gazetted Employees Union (CSNGEU) and Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) for deliberations on their demands with the Cabinet Sub-Committee. The proposed meeting is scheduled here on Saturday evening.
Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Sagar, who is a member of the cabinet-sub committee, told Greater Kashmir that the committee would apprise the employees’ leaders of the government’s “initiatives” regarding the issue. “It is better to have a dialogue rather than going for a confrontation. The employees should not have called for a strike when they are already engaged in a dialogue process,” he said.
Sources told Greater Kashmir that a final effort is being made by the Government to calm down the employees, and the fresh invite for talks with the Cabinet Sub-Committee, headed by Finance Minister AR Rather is a part of that effort. The Cabinet Sub-Committee, sources said, will hold separate meetings with the leaders of the employees.
The proposed Saturday meeting, would be the second round of talks being held with the leaders of the employees unions. The first round of talks between the Government representatives and the employees’ leaders was held on March 19, wherein the government had sought time till March 31 to look into their demands.
Meanwhile, a three-member official-level crisis-management committee, comprising Khursheed Ahmed Ganai, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister and two commissioner secretaries Basharat Ahmad Dhar and Sudhanshu Panday
were, reportedly in touch with the employees’ leaders in an effort to break ice and avert agitation.
One of the agitating groups, Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) has already announced four-day strike from Saturday, while JCC has given seven days strike call from April 5 and CSNGEU has called for two-days strike on April 5 and 6.
EMPLOYEES’ UNIONS ANNOUNCE PROGRAMME
Following `failure’ of the state government to meet their demands, including enhancement of the retirement age and release of sixth pay commission arrears, the employees unions have stepped up their activities to launch what they call the `final round of meaningful agitation’ in the state.
The employees associations representing more than 4.5 lakh employees are not ready to budge on their stand. “We will call off the proposed strike only if government agrees to release the first instalment of arrears,” said JCC leader Abdul Qayoom Wani. At least Rs 4200 crore arrears are due to the employees since the implementation of the 6th pay panel report from January 2006. However government has maintained that it had no resources to meet the financial demand and the same would be paid only when the funds become available.
Besides, Qayoom said government would have to come up with a cabinet decision on other demands, which includes enhancement in retirement age, conversion of COLA into DA, increase in HRA and others.
Meanwhile, representatives of the two main employees unions, JCC and EJAC, in two separate press conferences in Jammu Friday, urged the government to accept their demands or “get ready to face the wrath of the aggrieved employees”.
Both EJAC and EJCC have, however, excluded emergency and essential services from the purview of the proposed strike. The leaders of both the groups, however, threatened to include the essential services, besides, launching indefinite strike “if the government failed to come to a final conclusion on their demands.”
“The state government must accept the genuine demands of the employees before April 4, 2010 failing which the Joint Consultative Committee would have no option but to go on consecutive seven days strike across the state from April 5,” senior JCC leader Jaswant Singh said.
Accompanied by various affiliated employees union presidents, Singh told media persons that the pen-down strike would be `meaningful’ and may lead to `indefinite strike’.
Accusing government of not taking employees seriously, senior EJAC leader Ram Kumar Sharma alleged that such circumstances compelled EJAC to launch four days `decisive agitation’ which would commence across the state from April 3.
He alleged that government has forced employees to go on strike by not accepting their demands. “We were avoiding confrontation with the government so that people may not suffer but employees have been left with no other option,” he told media persons.
The civil secretariat non-gazetted employees union has called for two-day strike on April 5 and 6.
The leaders of the employees Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) met here Friday to chalk out the future course of action. Leaders of EJAC (Q), Abdul Qayoom Wani and EJAC (K) Khurshid Alam were present at the meeting.
As per the programme announced by JCC leaders after the meeting, all the government offices including educational institutions and public sector units would remain closed from April 5 to April 10. However, the emergency services in hospitals, blood banks, labour rooms and cancer departments have been exempted from the strike.
According to JCC spokesman, rallies would be held at district level on April 8 while a grand rally would be organised in Srinagar and Jammu on April 10.
In Srinagar, according to JCC spokesman, the main rally on 10 April would be held at Sher-e-Kashmir Park Srinagar, which will then proceed towards Lal Chowk. “A control room is being established at Municipal Headquarters in Srinagar to monitor the proposed programme,” the spokesman said.
The JCC leaders, however, said that if the employees are forced to proceed on indefinite strike, the school timings would be changed to compensate for the loss so that the students do not suffer.
The JCC leaders said they would not hold any parleys with the all party delegation as according to them it was a futile exercise and a dilly-dallying tactics of the government.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 2 Apr 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 2 Apr 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 3 Apr 2010 00:00:00 IST
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