Andhra employees reject talks with govt committee over pay revision, intensify protest
The stand-off between Andhra Pradesh government and employees over pay revision continued on Tuesday, January 25, as the latter turned down another invitation for talks and intensified their protest. The employees' unions rejected the fresh offer of talks by a five-member committee constituted by the government to hold talks to resolve the contentious issue.
A day after PRC Sadhana Samithi (Struggle Committee), an umbrella group of employees' unions, served a strike notice, the government extended a fresh invitation for talks. However, employees' unions ruled out any talks till the government rolls back the Government Order (GO) for implementation of pay revision. The apex body of agitating employees made its stand clear after a meeting called to discuss the fresh invitation for talks by Principal Secretary (General Administration) Shashibhushan Kumar.
The official had invited the leaders of employees' unions to come to the state secretariat for talks with the committee at 12 noon.
Leaders of the employees' unions decided to write a letter to the government panel to repeal the GO. They also reiterated the demand that the Pay Revision Commission (PRC) report be made public.
Meanwhile, the employees' unions have intensified their protest to demand repeal of the GO. They have already decided to go on strike from February 7 to press for their demands. A day after serving the notice, the unions organised dharnas and took out rallies across the state. Protesting the government's stand, they staged a sit-in at the offices of district collectors.
Demanding that GO with regard to the pay revision be rolled back, the employees took out two-wheeler rallies at few places. The protesting employees took out a rally in Vijayawada.
The unions conveyed to the government on Monday, January 24, that all the employees will go on strike from midnight of February 6.
The leaders alleged that the GO was issued without taking the views of the employees. They said the implementation of GO will result in loss to the employees, teachers and pensioners.
The government on Monday, January 24, constituted a committee to hold talks with the employees. The committee comprises ministers Botsa Satyanarayana, Perni Nani, Buggana Rajendra Prasad and government advisor Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy. Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma will be the member convenor.
However, leaders of employees' unions made it clear that they have two pre-conditions for talks — they should be given a report of the Pay Revision Commission (PRC) and salary for the current month be paid as per previous pay scales.
The employees say that there will be downward revision in their salaries under the new pay scale implemented as per the GO issued recently. They have been protesting for more than a week to demand the government to withdraw the GO. PRC Sadhana Samithi leaders said that 13 lakh employees and pensioners will go on strike.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had announced a 23% pay revision earlier this month. A GO issued to implement the same sparked protest by employees who alleged that revised pay scales would result in reduction of their present salaries.
The employees' unions are demanding that the government pay their salaries as per 27% interim relief which was announced pending implementation of the new PRC report. However, the government maintains that there will not be downward revision of salaries. It claimed that with the payment of DA arrears since 2019, the gross salary will go up.