New Delhi: Central government employees’ unions on Wednesday decided to defer a planned strike aimed at pressing demands for minimum pay higher than the levels suggested by the Seventh Pay Commission. The unions had planned to start the indefinite strike on 11 July.
The decision came after the central government formally communicated to the unions that a high-level committee would consider their demand for minimum pay that’s over and above the level suggested by the Seventh Pay Commission.
The unions have been demanding Rs26,000, higher than the Rs18,000 approved by the cabinet last month, based on the Seventh Pay Commission’s report. The government said it was more than doubling minimum pay from Rs7,000 after accepting the recommendations of the commission, which would put an extra Rs1.02 trillion in the hands of 10 million government employees and pensioners.
“We are not going on strike. It’s deferred now,” said Shiva Gopal Mishra, general secretary of the National Joint Council of Action (NJCA), a confederation of several government staff unions.
Representatives of the unions had met home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley and railway minister Suresh Prabhu to discuss the issue on 30 June.
The government said Wednesday evening that the ministers had “requested that certain issues raised by them in relation to the pay scales and other recommendations of the Pay Commission be allowed to be raised before a Committee of Secretaries looking into different aspects of grievances of employees in relation to the Pay Commission recommendations.
“The Ministers assured the Union leaders that the issues raised by them would be considered by a High Level Committee,” the government said in statement after the union leaders met Singh again on Wednesday.
The home minister assured the delegation that the government will honour the assurances held out to the union leaders on 30 June and Jaitley will issue a formal public assurance with a copy to NJCA, said M. Krishnan, secretary general of the Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers.
The committee which will look into the demands is likely to submit its report in the next four months, and union leaders said they will review the decision based on the panel’s report.