As many as 33 lakh central government employees have threatened to go on strike from July 11 to protest against the “meagre” pay hike announced in the 7th Pay Commission.

“They have fixed the minimum wage at a meagre Rs 18,000 in the 7th Pay Commission. In the last Pay Commission, the basic pay was Rs 7,000. They multiplied it by 2.57 (fitment formula) and came to Rs 18,000. We are demanding 3.68 fitment formula,” Shivgopal Mishra, general secretary, All India Railway Men Federation and convenor of National Joint Council of Action (NJCA), told IANS.

NJCA is a front formed by six government staff unions, including Confederation of Central Government Employees (CCGE), All India Defence Employee Federation and National Coordination Committee of Pensioners Association, to oppose the hikes given by the 7th Pay Commission.

“As many as 33 lakh government employees, excluding the defence personnel, will go on strike if we do not get some kind of assurance from the government to reconsider the decision. The major contention is on the minimum wage, which we are demanding to be Rs 26,000,” KKN Kutty, president of CCGE and general secretary of national coordination committee of pensioners association, told IANS.

“We had a meeting with a group of ministers, including the home minister (Rajnath Singh), finance minister (Arun Jaitley) and railway minister (Suresh Prabhu) on the evening of June 30. They said it will be considered and will be referred to some committee,” said Mishra.

“We are waiting to hear back on this from the government by July 4 evening or July 5. In our meeting, it was only a verbal commitment. If the government gives us specific details like which committee will review, etc. then we will defer the strike. We have a meeting on July 5 to decide on the strike,” Kutty said.

“We had met the government on June 9, and suggested various improvements in the 7th Pay Commission’s recommendations. But the government has not given any heed to whatever improvements we had proposed. They have given same hike as suggested by 7th Pay Commission,” C Srikumar, general secretary, All India Defence Employees Federation, told IANS.

Srikumar contends that the prices of essential commodities considered by the Seventh Pay Commission itself were faulty, which has resulted in the meagre rise.

“Price considered of essential commodities by pay commission is not right. They have taken dal price at Rs 97. Where do you get dal for Rs 97?” he said.