Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
At the 10-minute meeting, the Chief Secretary is said to have clarified that the court had only made observations and not issued a direction yet on the issue of taking back thousands of staff members sacked for participating in the July strike. Hence, the Government would await its final orders before reinstating over 8,000 employees it had agreed to take back during today's hearing.
Later talking to the media, the Chief Secretary said the Government would announce its decision on reinstating the staff after getting a copy of the court order to be delivered tomorrow.
Secretariat staff targeted
However, the Government's submission before the court that it could not take back over 6,000 employees, especially nearly 2,300 Secretariat employees, has furthered anguish among the staff unions, which have been pleading for reinstatement of all sacked staff.
The Government appears firm on not giving back the jobs to almost all yet-to-be-reinstated Secretariat staff members, who participated in the strike. Though a majority of them have only been charged under Section 4(participation in strike) of the Essential Services Maintenance Act, the Government is treating the "Secretariat staff" as a "separate group". Not without reasons. The Secretariat staff had plunged into the protest one day ahead of the rest of the employees in the State struck work, it is pointed out.
Besides, senior functionaries of the Secretariat Staff Association had addressed a meeting at Fort.St.George two days before the strike, and launched into an offensive against the ruling establishment.
Even a circular issued by the Chief Secretary noted that the members of the Secretariat Staff union had resorted to "violent speeches" in the Secretariat complex on the eve of the strike.
DMK hails SC order
The DMK president, M. Karunanidhi, welcomed the Supreme Court's interim order and said it would bring some relief to government employees.
Talking to presspersons here, he said the Government should, from time to time, invite the employees for talks and decide on issues affecting them.
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