People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 03

January 20, 2013




Employees Call off Strike on Victory Note


N S Sajith


BEING waged under the banner of the Joint Action Council, the mighty struggle by employees and teachers in Kerala against the UDF government’s decision to implement a contributory pension scheme (CPS) ended on a success note. The strike was called off in the wee hours on January 14, following separate meetings held at the residences of Kerala finance minister K M Mani and chief minister Oommen Chandi in the preceding night.


The government had decided to introduce the CPS for the employees joining the state service from April 1 this year.


The chief minister assured during the meeting that while implementing the CPS, the minimum pension of the employees would be ensured. This was a big blow to the government that had earlier rejected the main demand raised by the Joint Action Council.  


It was also assured that a mechanism would be created to examine any difficulty for employees that could arise while implementing the new scheme. The chief minister also assured that the government would seek the permission of Provident Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) to get permission to include the state treasury in the list of financial institutions for administering the contributory pension scheme. The existing employees would come under the statutory pension scheme, the chief minister said. Also, while working out the details of the CPS, it would be ensured that the minimum pension for employee even in the lowest grade would not be less than the amount guaranteed under the Employees Provident Fund Scheme.


From the very beginning of the indefinite strike, the government had taken all possible steps to victimise the employees. Hundreds of employees were suspended. But daring such actions, lakhs of employees vigorously stood for the struggle. The chief minister repeatedly and indifferently said there would be no discussion with the leaders of the employees’ and teachers’ organisations. But when the whole state machinery got paralysed due to the stir and the holding of the state school festival being held in Malappuram suffered as a result, finance minister K M Mani took the initiative to settle the agitation. He felt shattered also because the process of preparation of the state budget for the next fiscal year got affected due to the struggle of the employees who hold key positions in various departments.


Leaders of the Joint Action Council A Sreekumar, C R Jose Prakash, P H M Ismail, M Shajahan, K Shivakumar, S Vijyakumaran Nair, E Nizamuddin, N Rajendran, and Rajendran led the talks with the chief minister and the finance minister.