Despite ESMA, Employees Continue to Cease Work in J&K

Despite ESMA, Employees Continue to Cease Work in J&K
Undeterred by the Jammu and Kashmir government slapping ESMA on them, employees continued their strike across the state today crippling work in government departments and Public Sector Undertakings.

The employees are on strike since April three demanding among other things immediate release of arrears as recommended by the 6th Pay Commission and enhancement in retirement age from 58 to 60 years.

The government invoked the Essential Service Maintenance Act against the striking employees last night after repeated appeals to them to resume work went unheeded.

The Civil Secretariat here wore a deserted look today as employees continued to cease work.

Only IAS and state administrative service officers along with their personal staff attended offices, official sources said.

Though work in government offices and PSUs was hit, the the assembly secretariat functioned as usual, they said.

Reports pouring in from different districts in Jammu Division said the attendance was thin in government offices.

Employees in several state-run educational institutions and hospitals were also on strike.

Announcing the decision to slap ESMA, Finance Minister A R Rather last evening said the authorities were left with no option but to invoke this stringent provision.

The government also took a decision to follow "no work, no pay" policy from today.

On invoking ESMA in the state, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said irresponsible attitude of the striking employees compelled the government to take "appropriate action".

"Their (employees) irresponsible attitude has compelled the government to take appropriate action... Even now doors are open to settle the issues across the table," Abdullah told a public gathering near Jammu.

Over 4.5 lakh employees are on strike in the state, affecting all government-run institutions.

Asking the employees to shun the path of confrontation and realise their responsibilities as public servants, the Chief Minister urged them to call off the strike and allow the government to resolve the issue in a friendly and amicable atmosphere.

The Government has already taken up the issue with the Centre and is strongly pursuing to get central grant for payment of arrears to the employees, he said.

Meanwhile, the BJP condemned the decision of the state government to invoke ESMA.

"The Omar government has collapsed. There is total failure of government on governance, development and political front. We condemn the decision of the state government to invoke ESMA to crush the employees' genuine movement," former BJP state president Ashok Khajuria told reporters here.

He termed the decision of the government as undemocratic and unconstitutional, and warned that the invocation of ESMA will not only complicate the situation.
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