Functioning of government offices and schools were partially hit as pro-Left government employees and teachers in Kerala today began an indefinite stir in protest against the UDF Government’s decision to implement Contributory Pension Scheme for its staff from this April.

The pro-BJP Federation of Employees and Teachers’ Organisations has also joined the strike. Expressing solidarity with the staff and teachers, the employees of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation also observed a day-long strike, which has hit the operation of bus services across the State.

However, the State Employees and Teachers’ Confederation, owing allegiance to the ruling UDF, stayed away from the stir, saying that the Government’s decision would not affect the existing employees as statutory pension scheme would continue for them and CPS was only for newly appointed employees.

Sources said the functioning of government offices and schools were partially affected by the strike as a majority of government employees belonged to pro-Left Unions.

Terming the strike as “politically motivated’’, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said in Kochi that the Government had made earnest efforts to avoid the stir.

The CPS was a “foresighted move” which would help the employees and the public in the long-run, he said, adding that the scheme had already been implemented in 25 States covering 90 per cent of employees in the country.

Chandy also said ‘no work, no pay’ would be effected for striking employees. He also cautioned that strict action would be taken against those who prevented employees from attending offices and schools.

In the case of Kerala, 80.61 per cent of the State’s revenue was spent on salary and pension to employees, leaving only 19.39 per cent of the receipts to meet the development and welfare commitments, Chandy said.

Rejecting the claim, the unions allege that CPS is a part of the Government’s move to give up its commitment and would lead to denial of minimum pension to employees.

(This article was published on January 8, 2013)
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