29 Feb, 2024 09:43 AM

Indefinite strike from May 1 for Old Pension Scheme

Indefinite strike from May 1 for Old Pension Scheme

A coalition representing 2.8 million central government employees, including those in Railways and Central Public Sector Undertakings, as well as over three crore state government employees and teachers, has announced plans for an indefinite strike starting May 1. They are demanding the reinstatement of the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) in place of the current National Pension Scheme (NPS).

The Joint Forum For Restoration of Old Pension Scheme (JFROPS), the steering committee of the coalition, has unanimously agreed to issue strike notices to respective administrations on March 19.

Despite efforts to negotiate with the Centre, discussions broke down, leading to the decision to strike, according to Shiv Gopal Mishra, Convener of JFROPS and General Secretary of All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF). Mishra, who also serves as the secretary (staff side) of the Joint Consultative Machinery (JCM), lamented the government's disregard for their demands despite protests, letters to the Prime Minister and Finance Minister, and discussions in JCM meetings.

Prior to the strike announcement, strike ballots were conducted in Railways, various departments, and PSUs under the Centre, with unions claiming nearly 100% employee support.

General Secretary of All India Defence Employees Federation, C. Srikumar, criticized the government's insensitivity to their legitimate concerns, emphasizing that the strike was necessary due to continuous neglect of their demands. He noted that all unions, except the pro-government Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), would participate in the strike.

Addressing concerns about the strike coinciding with general election activities, Mishra stressed the importance of the OPS issue and expressed a desire for it to be discussed during elections. He maintained that even if the model code of conduct were enforced, the Cabinet could still deliberate on their demands.

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