Manipur government employees’ strike called off

Imphal, May 20 (IANS) The four-month long Manipur government employees’ strike over salary hikes and payment of arrears was called off following an agreement between the employees and the state government, officials said Thursday.

The strike ended late Wednesday and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in the presence of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh between the Joint Administrative Council of Employees Organisations (JACEO) and state government representatives here.

Over 61,000 government employees led by the apex body JACEO launched the strike Jan 16, demanding the full implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations, which suggested a hike in salaries and payment of arrears with effect from January 2006.

‘The employees have agreed to call off their strike and all government employees would resume duty from Thursday,’ the MoU said.

JACEO secretary general Chandramani Singh told reporters: ‘We are asking the striking employees to join duty. We are more or less satisfied over the government decision to pay the six month arrears instead of arrears with effect from January 2006.’

According to the MoU, the state government has agreed to disburse pay scale arrears for six months with effect from October 2009 to March 2010 in cash in two equal instalments.

‘The first instalment of arrears would be paid in October this year and the second in June next year. The arrears would be paid in cash on the condition that revenue earning departments like the power department meet the target of monthly revenue collection,’ the MoU said.

Earlier Okram Ibobi Singh, who also holds the finance portfolio, had cited a scarcity of funds as the reason why arrears with effect from January 2006 could not be paid.

‘The Manipur government needs Rs.1,000 crore to provide the salary and arrears with retrospective effect from January 2006,’ the chief minister added.

The end of the strike will help Manipur get respite from an unprecedented crisis of essential items such as baby food, life saving drugs and transport fuel following an indefinite blockade on national highway 39 and 53 enforced by various Naga tribal groups since May 6.

The various Naga tribal groups had launched the economic blockade following the Manipur government’s decision to ban National Socialist Council of Nagaland Isak-Muivah faction (NSCN-IM) leader Thuingaleng Muivah from visiting his birth place in Somdal village in Ukhrul district, about 90 km from here.

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