Shun agitation, resume duties: Govt tells employees

Will not succumb under pressure: EJAC

SRINAGAR: Senior cabinet minister Taj Mohiudin today asked protesting employees to shun path of agitation and resume their duties immediately.  He said the cases registered against employees and their leaders can be withdrawn only by the state cabinet and the cabinet Sub Committee cannot help them out.

Talking to KNS, Taj said: “The decision to invoke Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against protesting employees has been taken by the cabinet after considering all the facts including rulings by the High and Supreme Courts. Now the Cabinet sub-committee or for that matter the honourable Chief Minister cannot withdraw these cases. Only Cabinet can undo its decision,” Taj informed.

He said the coalition government has always been in favour of negotiations with employees to address their demands which have almost been fulfilled by the present dispensation. “I completely endorse finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather’s detailed statement which he gave on the floor of Assembly. We have agreed to almost all demands of the employees but they have no adopted a rigid stand. They want the government to take a decision on enhancement of retirement age in hurry which cannot be done unless all the stake holders are taken on board,” Taj who is in the Cabinet sub-committee dealing with employees said.

The Minister medical education opined that the employees should call of their strike and join their duties without any delay. When asked how can the employees and their leaders join their duties when they have been put behind bars, the minister said: “Let rest of the employees join their duties. To my knowledge there are many places where the attendance of employees is thin and they are still on protest. How can we tolerate sufferings of people who have elected us to address their problems,” he added.  

Taj clarified the notion among the employees that government was buying time on enhancement of retirement age, saying that this demand being complex needs to be looked into very carefully. “See we have to take stake holders on board regarding this issue. This decision cannot be unilateral. We have to think aspirations of our unemployed youth into consideration besides the opinion of  civil society is too important which cannot be ignored. But a decision whether to agree this demand or not needs some time and employees cannot take the government for ride on this issue with its obstinate attitude,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a message from jail, Abdul Qayoom Wani, president Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) has said: “I appeal all the employees to be steadfast in their struggle to achieve our genuine goals. Let me also make it clear that the more pressure tactics is applied to crush the protesting employees, the more we will intensify our struggle. We pledge to continue our struggle, come what may. Invoking ESMA against us can not deter us from archiving our goals. Our demands are genuine and there is no power on earth which can stop us from raising our problems. We simply want the government to implement its promises.”

 It may be recalled that on October 5, Minister for Finance Abdul Rahim Rather while addressing the Legislative Assembly had announced ‘no work no pay’ for the employees who are  protesting against the Government, saying that the employees’ leaders are addicted to go for strike and protest on roads.

Among its various demands, employees unions seek enhancement in retirement age from 58 to 60 years, removal of pay anomalies and regularization of the daily-wage and casual labourers.

Employees to wear black bands 

Expressing solidarity with its detained leaders Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) an amalgam of various employees’ associations today  decided to observe October 10 as the ‘solidarity day’ and has appealed all employees across state to wear black bands on that day.

According to a statement a meeting of JCC was held on Tuesday to take stock of the present situation emerging out of the ongoing employees’ movement launched to press for implementation of agreement reached between JCC and Government on 15th September 2011.

“It was resolved that 10th of October 2013 (Thursday) shall be observed as solidarity day to express complete solidarity with the detained employees and it was decided that all the 4.50 lac employees across J&K shall observe this day by putting/wearing on Black Bands during office hours.”

Therefore, all the employees of J&K are appealed to ensure their participation in the programme by putting/wearing on Black Bands during the office hours on Thursday 10th October, 2013.

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