Suvidha centre employees call off week-long strike

About 1,100 employees of Suvidha centres across the state were on strike last week, which was called off Wednesday on the assurance that a policy will be framed to regularise them and that their salaries will be enhanced.

Suvidha centres are a one-stop shop for getting works done related to various government departments to facilitate common man. The striking employees, however, will come back on the job from Monday only and hence public work remained hampered for a full week."The chief minister and the deputy CM often talk about inflation in their speeches, they speak about the rising fuel prices, vegetables and what not. But they themselves pay the staff too less, " a staff member said.

Satnam Singh, president of Punjab State Suvidha Karamchari Association, said, "Apart from better pay scales, we are demanding regular jobs as well. Is it possible to make both ends meet at Rs 7,000 per month? Even unskilled workers get better salaries than us."

While the state government has asked the industrialists to implement the Minimum Wages Act in their units so that workers get the minimum wages, it seems they themselves do not take it seriously.

As per the Minimum Wages Act, Rs 6,200 is the minimum salary for an unskilled worker to be recruited in any factory, while the skilled workers are to get Rs 8,000 per month and if the worker is a Matriculate,the salary should be Rs 8,250 per month. However, in the Suvidha centres of the Punjab government, the computer operators and accountants are being paid in the range of Rs 7,000 - Rs 10,500 only. The computer operators working on contract-bases since 2004 were enrolled at a mere Rs 3,000, which was enhanced to Rs 5,000 and finally Rs 7,000, while the accountants get Rs 10,500 only.

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