Maharashtra's seventeen lakh government, semi-government, teaching and non-teaching staff will go on strike from Tuesday in demand of implementation of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS).
The talks of Unions held with the Shinde-Fadnavis government failed on Monday. As Unions remain firm, all activities across the state are likely to be affected from Tuesday.
What is the old pension scheme?
Government and semi-government employee Unions have been demanding the implementation of the old pension scheme for many months. They were joined by teaching and non-teaching staff.
The grade three and four employees had given warming strike last month only. On Monday, their Unions had a meeting with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Chief Secretary Manu Kumkar Shrivastav.
CM Shinde urges Unions to call off strike
Sources said that during the meeting, CM Shinde assured the Unions that the government will be positive to look into the matter. "I request you to kindly call off or postpone the strike. I assure you that the government will take care of your post-job life. Whether we will implement the Old Pension Scheme or will find the middle way, is a matter of study and discussion within the government," said Shinde reportedly in the meeting.
Unions want firm assurance
But Union leaders felt that the assurance is vague and have no concrete sign of the government's positive approach.
"We want some kind of firm assurance regarding the old pension scheme. But the government had no such thing during the meeting. So we have decided to continue with the strike call," said Vishwas Katkar, general secretary of the state government's employee association.
How the strike will affect state govt
As more than 17 lakh state employees are set to go on strike, this is going to affect all the works in Maharashtra. Possibly the effect of the strike could be seen even in Mantralaya as well as Vidhan Bhavan where the budget session is going on.
Opposition supporting old pension scheme
The demand for old pensions is gradually becoming a political demand as the Congress party has openly supported it. Congress led state governments of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhan have brought back the old pension scheme in their respective states. Congress is also leading the public rallies in all over Maharashtra. First rally was held last Sunday in Kolhapur.
The employees association has garnered huge support for this demand. "It is about the social security of the person. If the new pension scheme is so good then why are armed forces, MPs, MLAs not included in the scheme?," asked Katkar in argument of implementation of the old pension scheme.
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