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GTA group A B casual workers to halt work from June 13 over salary issue

Lal kothi in Darjeeling
Doctors, engineers, curators and managers under the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration have decided to stop work from June 13 onwards and demonstrate at Lal Kothi, the council body’s headquarters, demanding enhanced incentives as are being provided by the state government.
The planned agitation of the Janmukti Asthayi Karmachari Sangathan (JAKS) implies that 278 group A and B employees of the GTA will not be working to disrupt the proper functioning of the hill body. Earlier this year, the state finance department issued Order No.1107-F (P) dated February 25, 2016 to revise the benefits and pay of GTA contractual workers, albeit on fulfillment of certain criteria. The order also stated that the state government had decided to enhance the remuneration by 3 per cent every year.
Accordingly, the salary of Group C and D employees, who have worked for more than 20 years, has been increased to Rs 22,000 and Rs 20,000 respectively. But the state government's order does not mention the new salary structure of the doctors, engineers, curators and managers working under the GTA.
Earlier, council workers were paid paltry sums as salary, between Rs 2,500 and Rs 8,000. In 2011, the state government came out with a formula to bring these GTA employees under a pay band to curb the frequent agitations. As per the new structure, Group B and C workers started getting salaries from Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,500.
“The state government's order issued in February of this year is not clear, as Group A and B employees have been left out of the new enhanced pay structure. This is injustice to the 287 doctors, managers, engineers and curators. The state government has failed to clarify its stand in spite of repeated reminders,” said Kishan Gurung, the JAKS general secretary.
The agitators have decided to make their movement a pan-hills programme. Five members, each from Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong and Mirik will participate in the demonstration at Lal Kothi from June 13 onwards. Simultaneous programmes will be held in the remaining sub-divisions from the same day.
“We have decided to demonstrate and stop work in the first phase. If our demand is still not addressed, we will be forced to intensify our agitation,” warned Gurung.
Another demand of the JAKS is the regularisation of the 5,321 workers who were originally employed with the now-defunct Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council on contractual basis. (EOIC)

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