Hyderabad: Unfazed by the reported government threats to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and implement "no work no pay", the employees in Andhra Pradesh`s Telangana region are determined to strike work indefinitely next month.
Leaders of various employees` unions condemned the state government threats but said this would not deter them from going on indefinite strike to achieve separate Telangana state.
"We are not afraid of these threats and are ready to make any sacrifice," Telangana Non-Gazetted Officers` Association president Swami Goud told reporters.
Stating that the emoployees are ready for talks with the government, Goud said it was unfortunate that the government was stooping to this level to foil the strike.
Leaders of 86 unions, who have already served notice on the government, would meet Friday to decide the final date of the strike.
Goud said the employees from the secretariat to the lowest level were determined to bring the administration to a halt. Employees of state-owned Road Transport Corporation and electricity department are also joining the strike.
Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) convenor M. Kodandaram said the employees would go on strike at any cost as they enjoyed the support of the people.
Leaders of the Congress, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and other parties have also condemned the government move.
However, Finance Minister Anam Ramnarayan Reddy said no decision has been taken on invoking ESMA against striking employees.
He said while the government was ready for talks on genuine demands of the employees, the issue of Telangana was not in its purview.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy Tuesday dropped broad hints that his government may invoke provisions of the ESMA against those who disrupt essential services to people.
He asked the heads of 11 departments, which were providing essential services, to issue separate notifications to ban strikes for a six-month period under the ESMA.