Govt employees to go on hunger strike from Monday over delay in payment of salary

Representational Image. Photo: iStock/ rvimages

Thiruvananthapuram: Government employees have decided to launch a protest against the state administration over the non-payment of salaries. Starting Monday, the employees will go on a hunger strike in front of the Secretariat Sub-Treasury gate. The protest will be led by the Secretariat Action Council, an umbrella body of service organisations with allegiance to opposition parties. 

Salary payments have been delayed for nearly 3.5 lakh state government employees in Kerala, owing to an acute financial crisis. While the first working day of the month is the salary day for employees under departments such as revenue, police, GST and Secretariat, the payment is done for education and health departments on the second day. None of these employees have received their salary. 

Amid this, it was reported that the government was likely to implement a salary cap to manage the financial crisis. With this, the employees would not be able to withdraw their complete salary from their accounts. Though officials at the Treasury said they were hopeful of arranging necessary funds on Monday, there is uncertainty over whether the remaining government employees under departments such as Agriculture, who receive their salaries on the third working day, would get their pay. The total strength of state government employees in Kerala is around 5.25 lakh.

Incidentally, the government credited the salary of eligible employees in their ETSB (Employee Treasury Savings Bank) on Friday itself. However, the amounts were frozen and the employees could neither withdraw the money nor transfer it to other bank accounts.

The Secretariat Action Council staged a protest in front of the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday against the delay in salary payments. 

The Finance Minister and other senior finance department officials claimed that employees were not able to withdraw money from their ETSB accounts owing to a technical issue. However, they did not explain the reason for the issue faced by numerous employees. 

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