Following a high court order, Uttarakhand State Secretariat employees returned to work on Monday and they will now have to work six days a week as the state government did not accept their demand for working five days a week.
Realising that the state government and Uttarakhand high court were both firm on having a six-day week, the Uttarakhand Secretariat Employees Association called off their strike within seven days. The Association has, however, categorically stated that employees will not work beyond the period 10 am to 5 pm irrespective of the situation. Association office bearers stressed that they will follow the rulebook on working hours in letter and spirit. They have also warned other members not to work beyond the stipulated time and those who violate this diktat will be dealt with severely by the association.
“Most of our demands have been met except the one about six working days a week. Now that CM has assured us of discussing the issue with his cabinet members and advised us to discuss it in the association meeting, we deferred the protest till the next cabinet meeting. The association will wait till the next cabinet meeting as advised by the CM,” said association president Narendra Raturi. He added that association will decide on its future course of action after the next cabinet meeting.Now around 1,500 secretariat service employees will work for six days in a week.
Chief minister Harish Rawat expressed happiness at calling off of the strike. Stating that employees are part of the government, Rawat said “Our top priority is to resolve public problems. The government is willing to listen to its officials and employees. There is no better option than dialogue to resolve vexing issues and we want to fulfill the demands of our employees.” He praised association leaders and said they showed their leadership skills by withdrawing the strike to honour the verdict of the honorable high court and the feelings of the people.”
The Secretariat Association went on strike and boycotted work a day after Harish Rawat cabinet decided on November 10 to stop the five-day week system. Hearing a PIL filed against the strike, the high court ordered the government to ensure that employees return to work soon. The HC had set November 24 as the deadline for the state government.