The central government employees have put on hold for four months their proposed indefinite strike (scheduled for July 11) after the Narendra Modi government announced the formation of a panel to address their concerns over the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC).
This follows a meeting trade union leaders had with senior ministers of the BJP-led NDA government on June 30. In the meeting, they had reportedly demanded that the minimum monthly salary be raised from Rs. 18,000 as proposed by the CPC to Rs. 26,000.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu were present at the meeting.
On Wednesday, the government made an announcement as a follow-up to the June 30 meeting.
"They (trade union representatives) had requested that certain issues raised by them in relation to the pay scales and other recommendations of the Pay Commission be allowed to be raised before a Committee of Secretaries looking into different aspects of grievances of employees in relation to the Pay Commission recommendations.
"The Ministers assured the Union leaders that the issues raised by them would be considered by a High Level Committee," the government said in a statement on Wednesday.
The main grouse of the central government employees is that though the salary hike is projected as substantial, to Rs. 18,000 from Rs. 7,000 at the entry level, it translates into very little given that dearness allowance has been merged with basic pay.
The latest move is apparently a climbdown days after the government had warned railway employees of severe consequences if they were to join the proposed indefinite strike from July 11. The Railway Board had sent a letter to the respective zonal offices of the Indian Railways citing provisions of the rules governing railway employees on how they (the rules) stipulate for action in case of dereliction of duty.
The railway department employs about 13 lakh people.