Enhance salaries, pensions


GIVEN the back breaking inflation and the inflated utility bills, the past one year or so has indeed been very difficult for the masses in general and salaried class and pensioners in particular. Ahead of budget 2020-21, promises were also made with the employees that their salaries would be enhanced. But the promise was not fulfilled rather concerns of the salaried class multiplied when reports starting pouring in that the government is considering discontinuing pension, gratuity and annual increment in addition to reducing the retirement age.
In this backdrop, the public sector employees mounted a massive protest at D-Chowk in the federal capital on Tuesday, calling for an increase in their salaries, allowances and pensions in line with the existing inflation. The government side led by Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri held talks with the protesting employees and tried to calm them down by assuring that no proposal is under consideration to do away with the pension, gratuity and the annual increment. We understand that a policy statement on the matter must come from the Finance Ministry in order to allay the genuine concerns of the employees. Secondly, the situation warrants that the salaries and pensions of employees are enhanced considerably as the prices of essential commodities including those of wheat and sugar have gone beyond their reach plus they have to bear other expenses such as that of utility bills and the school fees of their children. The Pay and Pension Committee was formed before the announcement of budget for the current fiscal year. It must firm up its recommendations on a fast track basis to soothe the sentiments of the employees. How can government improve the working of government departments if their employees are not content? Most importantly, there is need to bring a uniform pay scale as there are a select group of departments where salaries are very high when compared with the employees of other ministries and their attached departments. In the federal capital, there are some departments whose employees are getting the Secretariat allowance over the last ten years or so but there are many others who have been denied the same. This discrimination has caused heart burning in the employees, thus affecting their performance. If the government really believes in justice, it should give ears to the concerns of government employees.