DA demand: Employees join strike, govt denies reports

The strike was backed by the CPM-led Left Front and BJP-affiliated employees’ council

DA demand: Employees join strike, govt denies reports

During the SFI Vidhan Sabha Abhimanyu on Friday [Photo:SNS]

Ignoring warnings from the Mamata Banerjee government, a large section of employees in government offices, schools and colleges stayed away from work on Friday supporting the strike called by the Joint Forum of State Government Employees to demand a hike in their dearness allowance (DA).

The state secretariat claimed that attendance of employees was normal on Friday.

The strike was backed by the CPM-led Left Front and BJP-affiliated employees’ council also supported the programme showing solidarity to the agitating government employees.


On Thursday, the state government warned employees to report to office on Friday, saying those absent without prior approval or adequate reasons would face a break-in-service and their salary would be deducted. No casual leave would be allowed and employees choosing to skip work would be served a show-cause notice.

On Friday afternoon, Nabanna issued directives to all district magistrates and other concerned officials in government offices to send a list of employees with their designations who did not report to duty during the day.

Different government employees’ organizations under the joint forum claimed that there had been a massive response supporting the strike reported in most offices, schools and colleges in the city and districts.

More than 50 per cent employees stayed away from work in DM offices, schools, Writers’ Buildings, New Secretariat, Bikash Bhaban, Khadya Bhaban, Purta Bhaban (PWD headquarters) and state consumers affairs department headquarters.

Biswadip Gupta Chyowdhury, leader of the CPMbacked coordination committee, a leading government employees’ union organizing the strike, said, “The strike has stalled the normal work in administrations across the state. Our colleagues have demonstrated in front of government offices throughout the day demanding a hike in DA.”

Denying Biswadip’s claim Manoj Chakraborty, leader of the Trinamul Congressbacked State Government Employees’ Federation, said, “The strike could not create minimum impact in government offices because attendance of employees was absolutely normal. Most employees in important secretariat and offices like Nabanna, Bikash Bhaban, Purta Bhaban and other administrative headquarters stayed away from the strike and reported to duty.”

The strike had a significant impact in schools in districts following the absence of teaching and non-teaching staff.

The state education department alerted district magistrates on Friday afternoon seeking immediate reports on why normal teaching activities and mid-day meal services were affected owing to absence of teachers and non-teaching staff.

The CPM state secretary, Mohammed Selim, said, “Even after the threat from the state government, employees participated in the strike. They stopped the work for one day for their legitimate demand for DA.”

Trinamul Congress government for the first time faced the strike called by its employees since 2011 when it came to power in Bengal.

Kolkata mayor and urban development and municipal affairs and housing minister Firhad Hakim claimed the strike to be a failure. According to him, the employees’ attendance at the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) headquarters is generally around 95 per cent. The absenteeism of five per cent today, was almost like normal days.

“The attendance in all our departments is normal. All our departments are functioning normally today. Those not attending work at KMC for genuine reasons like illness since the past three or four days would be considered while others who did not turn up particularly for the strike, would be dealt with accordingly,” he said.

In a press statement issued by the state secretariat later in the evening claimed that there was no impact of strike on the normal functioning of state government offices.

“Attendance on the average in different offices was 90 percent or above. Most of the absentees were covered under different relaxations provided in the state government circular issued vide no. 1068-F(P2) dated 9th March, 2023,” the press note stated.

Action will be initiated against employees who have wilfully absented on Friday from work, according to the note.