More than 20 Lakh Uttar Pradesh Government employees went on a strike on Wednesday, February 6 demanding a restoration of the old pension scheme. The State Government employees are protesting against the state’s new pension scheme under which the share of the government has been raised from 10 percent to 14 percent. This also means a four percent increase in the employee contribution, which the employee are opposed to.
The Uttar Pradesh Government Employees further alleged that they have been misled by the State Government for more than two months.
The government, after the failure of talks with various employees unions, invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) banning all protests but the strike has begin, a union leader said. ESMA Act imposed to provide for the maintenance of certain essential services and the normal life of the community. The ESMA, as it is commonly known, gives the police right to arrest without a warrant anybody violating the Act’s provisions.
In an official release issued by the government, it has been said strikes have been banned with immediate effect in any public service including corporations and local bodies.
Many government offices in the state capital wore a deserted look or remained locked as union leaders gathered outside to strategise and protest.
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The Convener of the umbrella group of unions, Hari Kishore Tiwari, told reporters that the strike will go on till February 12 if their demands are not met. He, however, said that in the initial days of their protest, the health and power sectors would not be involved.
“This is being done on compassionate grounds so that people are not affected, but at a later stage we will include health and power services,” he added.
Late on Tuesday, Chief Secretary Anoop Chandra Pandey directed all the district magistrates through video-conference to slap ESMA on the striking employees
Shiv Baran Singh Yadav, Chairman of the striking employees union, said they will not be cowed down by threats of disciplinary and penal action. “We gave the government enough time to think over our demands but things have come to this stage only due to their lethargy,” he said, adding that the government cannot rob the employees of their democratic right to strike against wrong policies.
Earlier on January 6 while announcing the Strike Hariskishor Tiwari, Convenor of the old pension restoration forum on told media that Almost 40 lakh employees of Uttar Pradesh will go on strike from February 6. The Strike which is being slated before the crucial Lok Sabha Polls 2019 is expected to supported by many workers association from the entire state.