The Punjab local bodies department has issued orders to all municipal corporations, municipal councils and other civic bodies in the state not to pay salaries to striking employees.
Employees of a number of civic bodies in the state are on strike for the past many days.
Local bodies minister Anil Joshi even hinted at invoking provisions of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against employees in case they didn’t resume work. Invoking ESMA could even cost employees their jobs. “The government can take strict action of invoking provisions of ESMA in case employees do not come back to work,” Joshi said.
The order for ‘no work no pay’ was sent by the director, local bodies, on Joshi’s directions. Joshi told HT that despite the government’s best attempts to resolve employees’ issues they continued to be on strike, without a valid reason, hampering day-to-day sanitation and development work in towns and cities.
Class 3 and 4 employees and safai karamcharis are on strike in about 25 municipal councils of the 124 in the state. Joshi said he tried to resolve the matter before the Talwandi Sabo and Patiala bypolls and asked them to call off the strike, but they continued to be on strike, despite giving the assurance that they would resume work.
“In case they (employees) don’t believe the minister, I am helpless, and would take action by deducting salaries for the days when they were absent from work,” Joshi said.
Joshi said employees were opposing transfers from one civic body to another and the contractual staff demanded regularisation of their jobs, which was not possible at a short notice.