An indefinite strike by Joint Action Council of Tamil Nadu Teachers Organisations and Government Employees Organisations (JACTTO-GEO), in which 10 lakh government employees and teachers are participating, started today. The strike has commenced despite a stern warning issued by the government. In a letter to Secretaries of all department, Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan warned of strong action against unauthorised absence. She said that demonstration or any other form of agitation affecting the normal functioning of government offices amounted to a violation of the Tamil Nadu Government Servant Conduct Rules, 1973.
In case of employees’ absence, it would be considered unauthorised, and they will not be entitled to pay and allowances, in accordance with the principle of no work no pay, she added. Pointing out that the Supreme Court has already observed that there is no proper justification from the employees to go on strike and staging a protest would be a punishable offence, she asked the departments to ensure that the employees do not involve in any kind of violence. She said that no employee should take leave with an intention to participate in the strike. "If any employee has applied for day off other than medical leave (with proper certificates), their period of absence would be considered unauthorised and they are not entitled to pay and allowances," she added.
However, Tamil Nadu Government Employees’ Association general secretary M Anbarasu said, "This warning is routine. We are going ahead with the indefinite strike. We will hold demonstrations in all taluks on January 22, followed by picketing on Wednesday."