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of the Chief Minister. But the request of the leaders that assurance be given in writing did not materialise. So the indefinite strike commenced on 10th

February 2016.

From, the first day of the strike itself lakhs of employees angered by the government's arrogant attitude joined the strike. Thousands of employees participated in the picketing held at District headquarters from the 3rd day. More than two lakhs employees courted arrest after organizing road blockade. On the 15th

February 2016 Teachers

Organisations joined the strike and struggle committee was expanded as a Joint Struggle Committee of Government Employees and Teachers. The strike had wide acceptance among the employees and teachers. About 60% of employees and teachers participated in the strike. The administration was virtually paralysed. Employees of essential services joined the strike. Doctors and Nurses held demonstrations in support of the strike.

In spite of the overwhelming support for the strike from the employees the government continued its mystic silence. Hence on the 9th day the Joint Struggle Committee requested the employees to Squat before the District Collectorates and

(4)Regularisations of the service of the compassionate ground appointees.

In addition many demands like raising of Pension of Noon meal and ICDS employees, setting up of State Administrative Tribunal were also accepted.

The indefinite strike was an energising experience for the Tamil Nadu government employees for various reasons. Even though the government and the main opposition party DMK worked against the strike, the employees through their united and determined struggle forced the government to accept their demands. The strike was solely called by the TNGEA and it was having full control of the strike till the end. The strike also gave a fitting reply to Chief Minister J.Jayalalitha who crushed the employees struggle in 2003 using State Power. Moreover she has been forced to revisit the NPS which she herself introduced in 2003 long before the Central Government implemented it.

It is sure that the indefinite strike will be an eye opener to the employees and teachers throughout the country. The argument that agitation and struggles of working class can never be successful in the neoliberal age has been proved

Commissioner of Revenue Administration in Chennai unless the government met their demands. Thousands of Employees come prepared with stove and other items , stayed day and night in the office campuses cooking food, conducting meetings, singing songs and shouting slogans . This agitation put great pressure on the government and the Chief Minister on February 19, 2016 was forced to announce in State Assembly that the demands put forward by TNGEA would be accepted. Based on assurance by Chief Minister in the assembly and on public interest the strike was called off on 20th February 2016.

The main demands accepted by the government were

(1) An expert committee to be set up to revisit National Pension Scheme.

(2) All retired employees and deceased employees who have joined NPS to get back their contribution along with government contribution and interest.

(3) Consolidated Pay grievances and anomalies be referred to the forthcoming Pay commission

wrong. It has also been proved beyond doubt that consistent campaign along with united and determined struggle of the working class can force even the most arrogant authority to accept their demands.

Earlier in 2013, the UDF Government in Kerala decided to implement the NPS w.e.f. 01-04-2013. But the Government employees and teachers in Kerala went on an indefinite strike during January, 2013 against the obnoxious NPS- a by-product of Neo-liberal policies- even when the participants were not hit by it. Hence it was a selfless struggle indeed to protect the interests of the future recruits which is a historic record. And the present strike by the Tamilnadu Government employees and teachers involving both the sections who are within and outside the ambit of the NPS is also a valiant struggle against the retrograde and the reactionary policies of the Government. The historic success of Tamil Nadu government employees will surely help us to march ahead in the relentless struggles against the anti- people and anti-worker policies.♦

sIPnHF \yqkv am¿®v 2016 13

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