Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government is set to implement the contributory pension scheme for fresh recruits in government service starting next fiscal, and the Left opposition has decided to support employees on strike against it.
A section of Kerala government employees have been on strike since Tuesday in opposition to the move to introduce the contributory pension scheme in the state.
At a hurriedly called meeting of the Left Democratic Front Thursday, a decision was taken to support the striking employees.
"The Oommen Chandy government is using the police to deal with striking employees and we will not be silent spectators. When the Left returns to power we will reverse what the Chandy government has done," said LDF convenor Vaikom Viswam after the meeting.
Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura are the only states that are yet to implement the contributory pension scheme in the country.
While the pro-government unions are not part of the strike, across the state skirmishes have been reported between the two sections.
A dozen protestors were arrested Thursday for obstructing those who reported for work.
Chandy told reporters that two rounds of talks were held before the employees decided to go on strike. He informed people that the situation was grave, as 80 percent of the state revenue was used to pay salaries and pension of around one million people. He said that only the remaining 20 percent of the state's revenue went to the remaining 3.20 millions in the state.
"When 90 percent of the state and central government employees in the country are on contributory pension, we find no reason why Kerala cannot go ahead with it. We have assured them that this new scheme is for only new recruits who join service from April this year, and will not affect a single government employee now in service," Chandy said.
Meanwhile, the pro-BJP employees union Thursday withdrew from the agitation.
Attendance figures in state government offices provided by the office of the home minister indicated that the strike had evoked a feeble response, and that 72 percent of the total employees in the state reported for work Thursday.