Kashmir government to hike salaries, staff end strike (Lead)

February 18th, 2009 - 7:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar/Jammu, Feb 18 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir government Wednesday gave in to the striking employees’ demand for higher salaries and said it will implement the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.
The decision follows talks in Jammu between a five-member team of cabinet members led by Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather and 30 representatives of the Joint Coordination Committee of employees.

Around 400,000 striking employees were demanding hike in salaries, enhancement of the retirement age from 58 to 60 years and regularisation of services of thousands of temporary employees.

The government staff have been on strike since Monday.

The government has accepted the striking employees’ demand for implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations, Finance Minister Rather told reporters after the talks with the employees’ representatives.

“Employees will receive the benefits of the Sixth Pay Commission from July this year while their other demands for enhancing the retirement age from 58 to 60 years and regularisation of daily wagers will be referred to the cabinet for discussion,” the finance minister said.

The notional effect of the Sixth Pay Commission would be from 2006 as in case of central government employees, Rather said. “But the arrears will go into the provident fund with some moratorium on withdrawal.”

He said the salary hike as per the Sixth Pay Commission would put an additional burden of Rs.3,800 crore (Rs.38 billion) on the state.

The striking employees’ union said the talks were satisfactory and it decided to “call off the agitation”.

The government team included Rural Development Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar, Industries Minister Surjit Singh Salathia, Public Health Engineering Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din and Education Minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed.

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