Imphal: An indefinite strike by government employees in Manipur that has crippled the administration entered the fourth month Friday.
The employees launched the strike Jan 16 demanding the full implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. They have threatened to intensify the protest if their demands are not met soon.
The Joint Administrative Council of Employees Organisations (JACEO), the apex body of the government employees, is spearheading the strike that has affected even essential services.
More than 800 employees of the Manipur Secretariat Services (MSS) also took mass casual leave Friday.
"From Saturday, we will also start indefinite ceasework," said MSS employees association general secretary L. Purujit. The MSS employees run the offices of chief minister, ministers and top officials.
Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has on several occasions appealed to the employees to end the strike.
JACEO secretary general Chandramani Singh told reporters: "There is no question of withdrawing the agitation. We shall intensify it soon till the government meets our demands."
The chief minister has expressed his government`s inability to hike the salaries with retrospective effect from 2006 due to paucity of funds.
"The government cannot think only of the 60,000 government employees, but also of the 2.4 million people in the state," he said.
The government employees have been agitating occasionally since November 2008 seeking a hike in salaries.
Their protest was called off October last year after Ibobi Singh promised to consider the demand after receiving grant from the 13th Finance Commission.
The functioning of the administration and government works were paralysed for over three months after the employees went on a similar strike Nov 27, 2008.