A day after being threatened with termination from their services, employees of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) have stood firm on their stand of not attending office until at least one year’s of arrears are paid to them.
Yesterday the newly-formed GHADC executive committee threatened to act against the employees, especially against leaders of the Non Gazetted Employees Association (NGEA), over their refusal to restart work and for allegedly not allowing those that want to do so from attending office.
“We are responding to the warning to us with the statement that we are firm in our stand and will not resume work unless one year’s salary is paid at the new scale,” said Flaming Marak, the NGEA joint secretary.
The NGEA termed the new EC led by the National People’s Party (NPP) as old wine in a new bottle, adding that threats of termination, harassment and unnecessary enquiries are not new to them.
“The previous EC also did the same thing for the past five years and have sufficiently harassed the employees by not paying our salaries for 34 months. They are treating us like a militant outfit just because we are demanding our dues,” added Marak.
Furthermore, on the threat of not being paid salaries during their agitation – which is now in its fifth month – the employees asserted that they have the legal right to their salaries of 34 months.
“We are not employers but employees. It is not our lookout for the arrangement of salaries and the authorities need to arrange the money and to clear our dues,” he added.
The GHADC had said that the council lost crores every month because of the non-attendance of the staff, money that could have gone in paying the arrears. The NGEA, however, scoffed at this notion, as despite working sincerely for months before their agitation, their arrears kept building up.
The NGEA added that it has been cooperating with the new EC and attending meetings when called but, instead of trying to work out a solution, the GHADC leaders have been threatening them.
“We have waited for three years without salary. How can we work without food? The new EC can’t expect the employees to render their service without giving proper food or without giving the dues to the employees,” added Marak.