Strike for 7th Pay Commission continues as talks fail
The Maharashtra government employees agitating for the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission decided to continue their three-day strike on the second day after meetings with senior officials failed to bring consensus. Maharashtra Rajya Sarkari Karmachari Sanghtana, the State government union that called the strike has, however, directed medical staff to join work from Thursday, following the explosion at the BPCL refinery in Chembur, Mumbai.Maharashtra Rajya Sarkari Karmachari Sanghtana General secretary, Avinash Daund, in a press conference on Wednesday night, said that the union met with Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and then with Chief Secretary D.K. Jain. “We demanded a time-bound program to fulfil our demands. Since they gave us no concrete answer, we have decided to continue the strike,” he said. “We were told that State does not have enough money to fulfill our demands but we are not asking the government to pay us at once.”Political supportSeveral political parties expressed support for the employees.Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said that the government should focus on solving their problems instead of threatening them with disciplinary action.State Congress president Ashok Chavan, said that continuous agitations from different groups are due to a lack of communication between the government and stakeholders. Nationalist Congress Party State president Jayant Patil said,“The government is promising to implement the Seventh Pay Commission from January. This is to win the elections that may be held in March-April.”The employees’ other demands are raising the retirement age from 58 to 60 years, a five-day work week, continuing the old pension scheme and a two-year child care leave for women employees.