Strike Cripples Indian Postal Services
Postal services across India were paralyzed on Tuesday as more than 600,000 workers began an indefinite strike to press for higher wages and more benefits, union leaders said.
"Our strike began at 6:00 a.m. (0030 GMT) and will continue till the government concedes our legitimate demands," Ram Prakash Sinha, secretary general of a postal staff union said.
The strike, he said, was "total" as all unions of postal employees in India had joined hands to stop work in more than 131,000 offices in the country.
In New Delhi, post offices wore a deserted look with all the staff either standing or squatting outside on the roads.
"We don't want any more assurances, we want the government to implement an agreement signed in May, which said our wages would be increased," Sinha said, adding the government had been given more than enough time to fulfill its promises.
"Now we have been told that the agreement we signed in May has been sent for consideration to a committee of ministers and they have rejected it," C.C. Pillai, a postal employee working in New Delhi's main post office said.
The agreement was based on recommendations set forth by an official committee, postal workers said, and was also accepted as "legitimate" by the minister for communications, Ram Vilas Paswan, he added.
The workers are demanding they be given the same ranks as civil servants, higher salaries for postmen and mail guards, increased pensions, and the speedy filling up of all vacant posts.
Sinha and Pillai admitted the strike was affecting services but said it was the only way to make the government listen to their demands.
The strike has been peaceful so far, police officials in New Delhi said.
However police personnel had been deployed outside several post offices in the capital to prevent any untoward incidents, they added -- NEW DELHI (AFP)
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