Salaries revised, complaints remain

Employees in Jammu and Kashmir are set to draw their revised salaries for July after the implementation of sixth pay commission. But the employees are far from satisfied. They say their demands are yet to be met. reports SHAHNAWAZ  KHAN.

Employees protesting against what they call is discrimination.
Employees protesting against what they call is discrimination.

“We are going to draw new salaries, according to SRO 93, and hopefully everybody with be benefited,” said Nazir Ahmad Mir, President of the Civil Secretariat Non Gazetted Employees Union.

Mir is, however, quick to add that the issues between the employees and the government have not been resolved yet. “For now, we are taking the salaries, but our demands are on government’s table,” said Mir, expressing hope of a positive response.

The Joint Consultative Committee of employees spearheading the agitation for implementation of 6th Pay Commission announced this week that all the government employees would assemble at Lal Chowk on August 12 and gherao the Assembly.

The announcement came after two-days of deliberations by JCC leaders. Employees Joint Action Committee (Q) chairman Abdul Qayoom Wani and EJAC (K) chairman Khurshid Alam also attended the meeting.

Last week, the state employees went on a two-day strike to press for their demands, which they say the government had earlier agreed to. Employees allege that government backtracked on its commitments to the employees.

“The Cabinet Sub Committee headed by finance minister had promised to implement sixth pay commission recommendations in toto for government and public sector employees as well. But the SR0 93 has many lacunae,” said Khursheed Aalam, President of a faction of Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC-K).

Aalam says that apart from promising implementation of sixth pay commission recommendations in full, the government had also agreed to enhance stipend of the daily wagers, and formulate a policy for adjustment of all kinds of temporary workers.

The Cabinet Sub Committee chaired by Abdul Rahim Rather, with Ali Muhammad Sagar, Paeerzada Muhammad Sayeed and Surjit Singh Salthia at its members, had agreed to the demands of the employee unions in February.
It then decided to implement the pay commission revisions from July, which has been done now, but the employees’ complaints remain.

“The pay commission recommends 20 per cent House Rent Allowance, but they have given only 15. Central government gives DA at 22 per cent, here they haven’t raised it from 16,” said Aalam.

He said that the pay revisions had to be calculated after enhancing the DA to 22 per cent, but by calculating the revisions with16 per cent DA as the base, the employees won’t be benefited.

“These things create resentment between the employees and the government. The spirit of the agreement has been tarnished,” said Aalam. “It seems some lobby in the secretariat is conspiring against the government.”

One of the major problems is that the employees recruited after January 2006 are bereft of the full benefits of the pay commission.  “We are getting no benefits from the commission. In fact we may even have to suffer losses,” said Muhammad Hussain, a teacher recruited in 2007.

The sixth pay commission has also brought down the qualifying service for full pension benefits to 20 years from 30. The relaxation helps people who are recruited late into the service. The state has not made this change, which employees say is essential with more and more people getting recruited in services in late 30.

The extension of retirement age from 58 to 60 is another issue. The government is reluctant to raise the superannuation age, citing rising unemployment as the reason.

Apart from general demands of the employees, anomalies in different departments are also creating resentment among employees. The government has clubbed many of the prevalent grades into bands. Not everyone in happy with their position.

Doctors have already expressed resentment over the revisions. On Thursday, they went for a strike pressing their demands.

Doctors Association of Kashmir says that they have been placed in pay band II, while the S L Bhat committee had recommended pay band III for them. “Our demands of two and half day salary, risk allowance, rural incentives have been ignored. Now this (pay band II) is discrimination,” said Dr Bashir Khan, Vice President Doctors Association of Kashmir.

“Doctors have to attend duties in hartals, blasts, curfews, have no Eid, no Diwali… Have a risk of contracting TB, hepatitis and AIDS. Why should doctors be clubbed with those who don’t face any difficulties?” DAK said in a statement.

The veterinary doctors of the state have also resented their placement in the pay band II. “In other states, the anomalies were addresses before the implementation of the recommendations. Here nothing of the sort was done,” said Aalam.

While the government said employees should wait for their July salaries, employees are in no mood to relent.
“The JCC leaders will announce their future program on August 12,” EJAC-Q chief spokesman, Khurshid Ahmad Trali said.

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