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Consensus eludes as employees stick to their stand on fitment

Vijayawada : The State government continued its talks with the employees associations leaders for the second consecutive day on Wednesday for finding a solution to the Pay Revision Commission (PRC) issue. Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath and Government Advisor (Public affairs) Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy held discussion with the employees’ union leaders in the Secretariat for more than five-and-a-half hours and tried to convince them to agree to the 14.29% fitment recommended by the Chief Secretary-led committee.

Explaining how the state finances were affected due to the Covid pandemic with figures, the Finance Minister said though the Chief Minister intended to give more to the employees, the State government was not in a position to do so and sought the cooperation of the employees. However, employees association leaders demanded fitment from 34% to 50% and both the parties failed to arrive at a consensus.

Speaking to mediapersons after the meeting, Sajjala said that they discussed all outstanding issues including fitment and House Rent Allowance (HRA). “On our part, we explained the enhancement of 70% of wages of Anganwadi and other seven categories of workers, which is burdening `1,300 crore on the State exchequer per year.

Similarly, merger of APSRTC, creation of village/ward secretariats and the Covid pandemic added to the burden of the government,” he said.

Pointing out the 27% Interim Relief (IR) given to the employees for the last two-and-half-a years, he said the government was with them. “We have appealed to the leaders of AP JAC and AP JAC Amaravati to postpone their ongoing agitation as the process has commenced and it will be concluded at the earliest,” he said.

Informing that another round of talks will be held probably on Thursday, he said that the final meeting will be conducted by the Chief Minister in the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, the employees associations criticised the recommendations of the officers’ committee on PRC. AP Secretariat Employees Association president K Venkatarami Reddy appealed to the government to arrange a meeting with the Chief Minister in a day or two to put an end to the issue.

“We have appealed to the State government to fix at least 34 per cent fitment and continue 30 per cent House Rent Allowance (HRA) for the employees working in the Secretariat and HoD offices in and around the capital region. We also demanded child care leave for at least one year.

The Centre is giving 2 years of child care leave and the state government should give at least half of it,” he pointed out. Stating that the talks were held in a cordial atmosphere, AP JAC chairman Bandi Srinivas said they failed to reach a consensus.

AP Government Employees Association president KR Suryanarayana felt that serious consultation on PRC began with the meeting with the Finance Minister on Wednesday. “We discussed 21 issues. Except fitment, all the employees’ associations were on the same page on the remaining 20 issues,” Suryanarayana said.

Asserting that the report of the officers’ committee is unscientific, he said the meeting also discussed the issues in the 11th PRC report prepared by Ashutosh Mishra.