The state president of Tamil Nadu Government Employees Association (TNGEA), M Subramanian has been suspended on the last of his service by the government. He is also the coordinator of the Joint Action Committee of Tamil Nadu Teachers, Organisations and Government Employees Organisations (JACTO-GEO).
The action has been criticised as a punitive measure for involving and organising struggles against the government’s policies.
The TNGEA leader was suspended on May 31, his last day of the 32-year service in various capacities with the government of Tamil Nadu.
The TNGEA and other teachers’ and government organisations under the umbrella of JACTO-GEO have been at the forefront of struggles affecting the employees and teachers. The recent strike of employees was held during January 2019 with demands including filling vacancies in various departments and abolishing the New Pension Scheme (NPS).
Former General Secretary of TNGEA, Bala Subramanian, while speaking to NewsClick said, “The suspension on the last day of service is definitely a vengeful move by the government. Many of the employees’ union leaders are facing punitive actions by the government for protesting for the right of the employees. There is a government order and a court ruling that prevents suspension of employees on the last day of the service. But the state government is continuing to violate their own orders”.
He added, “The government is taking all possible steps to prevent the employees from fighting for their rights. These actions are definitely a signal to the employees about the consequences of organising and protesting against the government. But the employees won’t be terrified by such actions.”
The JACTO-GEO conducted state wide protest on Monday demanding immediate withdrawal of the suspension of their leader. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is known for its ruthless attitude towards trade and employees’ union activities. The late Chief Minister J Jayalalitha had dismissed 2 lakh employees and teachers for striking work in October 2003 after which the AIADMK had lost in all 40 constituencies in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the 2004 general elections.
The present AIADMK government seems to have taken a leaf out of its old handbook. With the state witnessing frequent protests from all sections of the working class, such measures by the government will only end up fuelling the protests.