Days after schools in Tamil Nadu reopened after Pongal holidays, members of the Joint Action Committee of Tamil Nadu Teachers Organisation- Government Employees Organisation (JACTO-GEO) are on an indefinite strike from Tuesday. The announcement of the strike prompted the Chief Secretary to warn employees who take part in the strike of severe action.
Announcing the strike, JACTO-GEO said that 10 lakh members from 175 employees and workers unions from across the state will be a part of the strike. According to reports, JACTO-GEO members have opted to sit out of work for their demands to be fulfilled -- including reversal of contributory pension scheme, payment of arrears according to the Pay Commissionâ€™s recommendations, increasing the salaries of secondary school teachers to be at par with the pay of their Central Government counterparts etc.
Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan informed all district government offices and department heads that participating in the strike and affecting the normal functioning of government offices was tantamount to a violation of the Tamil Nadu Government Servantsâ€™ Conduct Rules and that such absence will be considered unauthorised, resulting in pay cuts for those days. Her letter also stated that those who work on daily wages and consolidated pay and participate in the strike can be fired.
JACTO-GEO had previously decided to go on strike from December 4, 2018, pressing for their charter of demands to be fulfilled, but this was later postponed. Representatives of JACTO-GEO also met Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar and detailed their demands. However, the meeting turned out to be unsatisfactory since the minister did not give any assurance about the demands.
Representatives from three government employeesâ€™ associations have decided not to take part in the strike. Reports stated that members of Tamil Nadu Secretariat Association (TANSA), Tamil Nadu Government Officials Union (TNGOU) and Tamil Nadu Government Officials Association met the Chief Secretary and presented their charter of demands. After she assured them that she would look into the matter and take necessary action, members of the three unions have promised to not participate in the strike.