'Pay reversal, not pay revision': AP employees associations protest Jagan govt orders

The Andhra Pradesh Secretariat Association and many other organisations have decided to go on protest demanding rollback of the Government Orders.
A file photo of the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat
A file photo of the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat
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Calling it "pay reversal", Andhra Pradesh state employees on Tuesday, January 18, rejected outright the government orders on the pay revision and demanded that they be withdrawn forthwith as they were fully detrimental to their interests. What the government did was "pay reversal" and not pay revision, as the new orders would only mean cuts in wages, the various employees associations said and threatened to go on strike soon till justice was done.

"This is nothing but a great betrayal and atrocious. This is a black day for the employees," the various employees' associations said. "What has been promised and what has been delivered are poles apart. We will settle for nothing but rescinding of these black orders. We will not hesitate to go on strike," the associations warned.

Citing CAG accounts, they claimed that the state government revenues have increased significantly. "Why is the government still crying hoarse over its financial position," they asked. Leaders of the AP Joint Action Committee, the AP JAC Amaravati and teachers' associations held a meeting at the NGO Bhavan in Vijayawada and discussed the GOs. At the state Secretariat, the AP Secretariat Association members also held a meeting and later met the Chief Secretary and lodged a strong protest over the pay revision orders.

Later in the evening, the APSA leaders met officials in the Chief Minister's Office and put forth their demand for withdrawal of the GOs. From Wednesday, the APSA decided to go on protest in varied forms demanding rollback of the GOs. As a follow-up to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy's January 6 announcement on fixing the fitment at 23%, the government issued three separate orders around Monday midnight.

While the fitment has been fixed at 23%, the House Rent Allowance was cut from 30% to 24, 16 and 8% in three slabs. The City Compensatory Allowance has been completely done away with, while the Dearness Allowance has been merged with the basic pay. The government, in its orders, said henceforth pay revision for state employees would be based on the Central Pay Commission recommendations.

"No employee will get a pay rise as per the new orders. Instead, there will be cuts in salaries, which has never happened in history," the two JACs leaders Bopparaju Venkateswarlu and Bandi Srinivasa Rao said. They demanded that the government reconsider its decision and issue fresh orders enhancing mainly the HRA and restoring the CCA.

They also wanted the fitment to be pegged at 27%, in what would be a continuation of the interim relief being provided now. APSA president Venkatarami Reddy said there was a lot of unrest among the employees over the new pay orders.

"The GOs are not in tune with our expectations. We backed down a bit on the fitment issue but a drastic cut in HRA and other things is totally unacceptable. History will not pardon us if we compromise on these things," he said.

AP Government Employees Association president Suryanarayana wondered if the state government would surrender control over its staff to the Union government, now that it has decided to go by the CPC recommendations.

"There will be at least 4 to 12% reduction in salaries if the new GOs are implemented. So, the government should necessarily take a relook and issue fresh orders to ensure the employees did not suffer any pay cuts," Suryanarayana demanded.

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