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Striking staff get Jaya stick

Chennai, July 2: The state government today warned all striking employees and teachers to report for work tomorrow or be sacked.

Government employees and teachers had threatened to go on indefinite strike from today to press for their 15-point charter of demands, including restoring pension benefits.

As work in government offices, schools and courts across the state was virtually paralysed yesterday with sections of the staff striking work a day in advance, chief minister Jayalalithaa reviewed the situation at a top-level meeting and announced stern measures.

In a statement issued this evening, the state government said those who had jumped into a work-stoppage yesterday would face immediate action under the Essential Services Maintenance Act that could lead to their dismissal.

Leaders of various political parties and trade unions appealed to the government to release the 20-odd employees and union leaders arrested under Esma over the last two days and resume talks to handle the situation with tact and compassion.

The ADMK government, however, made it clear that orders were being issued to fill in vacant posts that would ensue from the “dismissal” of employees.

According to the decision taken by the government today, steps will be taken to fill these posts falling vacant from as early as July 4 with necessary placements done from among qualified personnel who have registered with the respective employment exchanges in the city and the districts.

The government further warned the striking employees not to expect any mercy or liberal approach that it had shown during previous strikes.

Amid “tremendous financial difficulties”, the Jayalalithaa government had announced a relief package to the tune of Rs 552 crore a few days ago for its staff and teachers, the statement pointed out.

If they still persist with their strike, the government, in the larger public interest, will have no option but to “pursue a very severe course of action”, the statement warned.

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