Kerala prepares for Left-backed staff strike


Thiruvananthapuram : The Kerala government has made elaborate arrangements to deal with the day-long strike Tuesday by Left-backed state government employees, said Home Minister T. Radhakrishnan.

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“In a democracy everyone has the right to protest and go on strike, at the same time all arrangements have been made for all employees who are not part of the strike and will be working tomorrow (Tuesday),” Radhakrishnan told reporters here.

Organisations backed by the Left and the Bharatiya Janata Party announced the strike to protest the government’s decision of introducing contributory pension scheme for the new recruits, starting from the next fiscal.

Employees from unions backed by the Congress-led United Democratic Front have decided against the strike and would report to work.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy of the Congress had called a meeting of the representatives of all the state government employees last Thursday, during which he said that the statutory pension scheme would be replaced with the new scheme.

The Left-backed unions walked out of the meeting.

Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura are the only states that are yet to implement the contributory pension scheme.

“We wish that no attempts are made to obstruct people who are not part of the strike. A committee comprising the chief secretary, director general of police and other bureaucrats will monitor what is happening. At the district-level collectors and police heads would be looking into it,” said the home minister.

He said the main reason why the government decided to go for the new scheme was that the number of government servants (5.34 lakh) was less than the pensioners (5.5 lakh), with nearly 20,000 employees retiring annually.