HYDERABAD: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) employees called off their strike on Sunday following an assurance by the rural development minister D Manikya Varaprasad. But the CPM-affiliated field assistants’ union differed with those who have called off their strike and decided to continue protest till they get specific assurance from the minister on their demands. About 33,000 field assistants, field level staff, technical helpers, computer operators, mandal-level engineers and programme officers have been on strike since March 24 seeking hike in wages and job security.
The employees have formed a joint action committee and put forth their 20 demands before the government. The minister held talks with the JAC and agreed to implement 12 out of the 20 demands.
Later the cabinet sub-committee reportedly objected to it and felt that if 12 demands were to be agreed the government will have to bear a burden of Rs 45 crore and wanted the issue to be taken to the finance department.
The minister told the JAC leaders on Sunday that he would see that their demands would get the approval of the cabinet sub-committee meeting to be held on April 3. Satisfied with the minister’s assurance, the JAC called off the strike.
But the field assistant union differed with the JAC and alleged that the JAC leaders met the minister and took the decision unilaterally without consulting other unions.
The field assistants union general secretary K Umameshwara Rao said they would continue the strike till the minister gives specific assurance in writing. The major demands include implementation of minimum wages, regularisation of service, promotions to accountant-cum-computer assistants, extending Human Resources policy to engineering consultants, field assistants, outsourced staff, accountants-cum-computer assistants, social audit of NREGA works by qualified people. The computer assistants complained that they were made to work beyond statutory number of hours.