Oommen Chandy toughens stand towards strike by Left unions

Oommen Chandy

Toughening his stand towards the ongoing employees' strike organised by pro-Left unions, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today said he would not invite union leaders for another round of talks though they could

come and meet him any time.

Making it clear that government would not yield to the unions' demand to drop the decision to implement Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) for the employees and teachers joining the service from April this year, Chandy said he did not think that the negotiations were going to be fruitful.

"I am not going to invite the union leaders for talks. They can come and meet me any time," he told reporters here.

Reiterating the government's position, Chandy said the decision to introduce CPS was taken in the larger interest of the state and the employees.

Right from the start, government had held that the fiscal realities of Kerala did not allow the state to continue the statutory pension scheme as 80 per cent of its revenue is spent for salary and pension.

Chandy had also dubbed the strike as "politically motivated" as the government had not taken away any benefit enjoyed by the existing employees and teachers.

Reacting to Chandy's stand that the unions would not be called for talks, CPI state secretary Panniyan Raveendran said it only betrayed his "arrogance."

Functioning of offices and schools has been partly affected by the strike, which started on Tuesday last. Stray incidents of violence were reported from some parts of the state in connection with the stir in the last few days.

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