VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday observed that the State government is within its right to decrease salaries of employees when its economy is not good.
Pointing out that there is no hard and fast rule stating that salaries cannot be decreased, the court felt that it depends on the capability of employer (State government).
Dealing with a petition filed by AP Gazetted Officers JAC chairman KV Krishnaiah stating that the new Pay Revision Commission (PRC) report is against the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, the GOs issued should be stayed, a division bench, comprising Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Justice BS Bhanumathi, reminded the petitioner that the government needs to consider its revenue and budgetary allocations.
It is common to make adjustments whether salaries are increased or decreased, the bench said. It questioned employees as to how they can object when the government is stating that it will recover from where the increased salaries were given.
The court opined that the petitioner has to go on actual receipt basis. Finding lack of clarity as to whether salaries have increased or decreased and based on the same employees deciding to go on strike, the bench wanted to interact with employees’ union leaders and asked them to be available post lunch session.
‘Interim Relief cannot be basis to ascertain fitment’
Appearing for the State government, Advocate General S Sriram said the Interim Relief provided before implementing the subsequent PRC cannot be the basis to ascertain what is the appropriate fitment
Sajjala urges employees’ unions to come for talks
Sajjala urged the unions not to resort to any serious steps and not to forget that they are part and parcel of the government. Even though the strike notice has been given, talks will be held with them to resolve the issue amicably, he said.
At the same time, he found fault with employees of the treasury department for refusing to process the staff salaries for January in accordance with the new PRC. He said there would be no meaning in the strike notice, if they stop working even before the commencement of stir. “If the treasury employees continue to be adamant, the government will be left with no other option, but to initiate disciplinary action,” he warned.
Taking exception to the government issuing GOs for implementing the 11th PRC without considering the objections and concerns raised by them during the talks, the struggle committee termed the PRC detrimental to employees, teachers and pensioners.
Speaking to mediapersons after serving the strike notice, AP Government Employees’ Association leader Suryanarayana said it was a very painful day. “As we felt that the government approach is not right, we served the strike notice,” he said. He alleged that the government was misleading people on the PRC issue. Asserting that it is not a casual agitation, he urged the government to take the issue seriously. He made it clear that they will attend talks only after the government pays them old wages for this month and makes the report of Ashutosh Mishra Committee public.
AP JAC Amaravati chairman Bopparaju Venkateswarlu pointed out that the government set up the committee for talks only after issuing the GOs on the PRC instead of doing it before. He further said the government did not consider the reports of Central Pay Commission, Officers Committee and 11th PRC and issued the GOs taking some points from each of them.
AP JAC chairman Bandi Srinivas made it clear that talks are possible with the committee only after the government making the Ashutosh Mishra Committee report public, paying old wages and cancelling the PRC GOs.