The Kerala government has deferred its decision to further deduct a month's salary of government employees and teachers and will hold talks with employees’ unions. The government employees and teachers, hence, will get full-month's salary in September after five months.
The decision of the Left Democratic Front government reportedly follows a directive from the CPI(M) secretariat to Finance Minister Thomas Isaac to hold talks with the unions on repayment of one-month's deducted salary and to deduct a month's salary.
The unions affiliated to the Opposition United Democratic Front had said that they would seek legal measures and resort to an agitation while the pro-Left unions had expressed concern. The finance minister was about to convene another round of talks with the unions even as the Action Council of State Employees and Teachers has sought more concessions from the government if it goes ahead with the salary cut.
A cabinet meeting on September 16 went for the decision to further defer the salary of state employees apart from the efforts to reduce expenditure in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic triggered financial crisis.
The delay in getting Rs 7000 crore as GST compensation from the Union government has aggravated the state's fund crunch.
The cabinet decision was that deferment of salary will continue for another six months starting from September 1 and that the salary thus deferred will carry an interest rate of 9% per annum until it is merged into Provident Fund on April 1, 2021. The salary deferment move was initiated in April and the Governor on April 30 had approved an ordinance empowering the state government to defer the salaries of its employees for five months.
The High Court in May refused to stay the government's ordinance that empowers the state to defer salaries, when it was challenged by various associations, including the Kerala NGO Association.