Left,BJP strike against pension scheme affects govt offices

The one-day token strike by service organisations owing allegiance to Left parties and BJP against state govt`s decision to introduce PPS, affected govt offices.

Thiruvananthapuram: The one-day token strike by service organisations owing allegiance to Left parties and BJP against state government`s decision to introduce Participatory Pension Scheme for government employees from April next year, affected functioning of government offices in the state on Tuesday.

The organisations called for the strike after talks held by the government with service organisations on PPS failed last week.

However, unions loyal to Congress and other UDF constituents had withdrawn from the strike after the talks with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

The strike partially affected government offices where attendance was thin. The government had issued orders that "dies non" (no work, no pay) would be applicable to striking employees.

City services of KSRTC were also affected and only small number of buses were seen on the roads, while services were on in long-distance routes.

The government had earlier this month decided to implement PPS for employees joining the service from next year, sparking protests from opposition LDF and pro-Left service unions.

The Chief Minister, however, defended the decision holding that it was a far-sighted measure meant to save the state from a future financial disaster.

He pointed out that Kerala spent 90.34 per cent of its tax and non-tax revenue on salary, pension and interest on debts, with very little resources left for capital investment.

Opposition LDF and employees unions have dubbed it as a move in tandem with the liberalisation and globalisation policies of the Centre.

According to government figures, Kerala now has 5.50 lakh service pensioners against the total staff strength of 5.24 lakh. Every year, an additional 20,000 join the pension rolls, making it a recurring commitment.

The state`s pension commitment had jumped to Rs 8,178 crore a year from Rs 1,838 crore in the last 11 years.


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