17 lakh Maharashtra government employees begin 3-day strike
Mumbai : Around 17 lakh Maharashtra government employees launched a three-day strike on Tuesday over pending demands including implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission Report with departments like education and medical severely hit.
The state government on Monday night directed all employees to report for duty on Tuesday and warned of strict disciplinary action against those who failed to comply under MESMA (Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act) and salary cuts.
It also announced payment of pending Dearness Allowance (DA) for 14 months to 150,000 gazetted officers, who accordingly withdrew from the three-day agitation.
An official of the Maharashtra State Employees Organisation (MSEO) said that all employees right upto taluka levels have joined the agitation.
The MSEO has accused the state government of sitting on its demands including the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission Report, effective from January 1, 2016.
However, later it dilly-dallied saying that it was awaiting the report of the K.P. Bakshi Committtee in the matter as implementing the Commission would entail an additional burden of a staggering Rs 21,000-crore on the debt-hit state.
Other major demands include implementation of a five-day week in all government offices, increasing the retirement age from 58 to 60 and filling up urgently over 200,000 vacancies in the state.
The MSEO, Maharashtra State Class IV Employees Association and other affiliated associations served a notice to strike to the General Administration Department on July 16, but there was no response.
The unions have said that they will not settle for "mere assurances" but only direct action from the government, since the strike was deferred several times in the past few years on such promises.
Tuesday's action has hit normal work in all government offices including the headquarters, Mantralaya in Mumbai, collectorates, tehsils and talukas, besides educational, medical and other government institutions.