AP govt employees ready to go on strike over pay revision
Amaravati, Jan 19 (PTI) Amid growing unrest, Andhra Pradesh state employees decided to serve a strike notice on the government on January 21 demanding a set of GOs on pay revision be withdrawn forthwith, even as some staffers carried out protests in varied forms on Wednesday.
The state government, on the other hand, defended the government orders (GOs) and said no loss would be caused to the employees as it was the best that could be offered given the state’s precarious financial position.
All government employees, including those in the state Secretariat here, and teachers attended work sporting black badges. Outsourced employees staged a silent demonstration in the Secretariat.
In every district, teachers and non-gazetted officers burnt copies of the pay revision orders.
The Andhra Pradesh NGOs Association conducted its meeting in Vijayawada and demanded that the GOs were withdrawn immediately. It wanted the government to publicise the Ashutosh Mishra Commission report on pay revision and implement its provisions in toto.
Association president Bandi Srinivasa Rao told reporters that they would serve a strike notice on the government on January 21. "We need to serve the notice at least 15 days in advance. After serving the notice, we will chalk out a detailed agitation plan," he said.
AP Secretariat Association president K Venkatarami Reddy said they would settle for nothing less than total withdrawal of the GOs. "No benefit will accrue to the employees as per the new orders. Rather, they stand to lose monetarily. The officials are giving misleading figures claiming the pay will go up. That’s not correct," Reddy said.
Addressing a press conference, Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma said the state government had done a “balancing act” in a holistic fashion in fixing the new pay scales.
"There will be no decrease in the gross salary for any employee, as compared to 2018. Something will increase, something will decrease… that will always happen. Everything cannot increase, but you have to see the whole picture,” the Chief Secretary said, referring to the reduction in house rent allowance slabs.
Sharma noted that the state’s own revenue was Rs 62,000 crore now and pointed out that had there been no Covid-19, it would have touched Rs 98,000 crore.
“How to balance between giving something to the employees and to the people… The outcome is the result of the balancing. Look at it holistically as a system. This is the way to optimise it. We did the optimisation,” he pointed out.
The Chief Secretary said a lot of benefits were given to the employees despite coronavirus, citing the Rs 17,000 crore interim relief as an example.
"Interim relief can’t be part of the salary and it is always adjusted either against the dearness allowance or the arrears. Even with this, the impact of pay revision commission is a lot," he said.
The Chief Secretary said the state government took a conscious decision to move towards the Government of India for pay revision as many other states were doing the same. "Most importantly, you are in a big economic system. If you look at it, this is the best alternative… the optimisation which we have done under the leadership of the Chief Minister," Sharma said.