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Walking Backwards, Protest Salary Changes

Corona NewsWalking Backwards, Protest Salary Changes

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Andhra Pradesh government workers have warned of intensifying their protest next week.

Hyderabad:

Hundreds of Andhra Pradesh government employees sat idle in offices while others walked backwards outside the state secretariat in Amaravati on Friday to protest salary revisions that they are not happy with and does not meet their expectations.

It was the second straight day of escalating protests against the 11th Pay Revision Commission (PRC) recommendations which have resulted in deductions for money paid earlier to them as an “interim relief” or IR – which the government has described as “an interest-free loan”.

On Thursday, thousands of government employees from across the state had protested on the BRTS Road in Vijayawada, about 20 km from the new capital Amaravati, demanding a rollback of the government order.

“It was not a show of strength. It was our attempt to show the government our angst, our pain,” said Napa Prasad, general secretary of the AP Secretariat Employees Association. “For the last one month, employees have been very upset and we even wore black badges to show our protest but it made no difference.”

The employees are also upset that despite objections raised by them – and the Andhra Pradesh High Court putting it on hold – the government has gone ahead and paid the salary for January based on the new system.

The employees have threatened to intensify their demonstration from Monday, in a move that could probably hurt the YSRCP government politically as well.

But the government has refused to blink first so far.

“It is not a house arrest but it is not right to join illegal strikes. We have called employees for talks. Everyone knows with corona pandemic, the state finances are in a bad state, yet in the last three years, the Chief Minister has implemented all promises and looked after the employees,” Andhra Pradesh Home Minister Sucharita said.

At a news conference a day ago, Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma had said, “Like Telangana, had we given only dearness allowance and not the 27 per cent interim relief (IR), we could have saved at least Rs 10,000 crore over the last 30 months. IR is like an interest-free loan which has to be recovered, call it by whatever name.” He, however, added that the government would follow the directions of the High Court for now.

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