KATHMANDU, May 17: The official trade union of civil servants has threatened to launch protests if the government did not immediately move forward with the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) announced by the erstwhile government for civil servants of over fifty years or who have worked for over 20 years.
“It is unfortunate that the government has put the scheme on hold after asking civil servants to apply for the scheme. We ask the government to implement the scheme as soon as possible or we will be forced to launch protests,” President of the trade union Punya Prasad Dhakal said organizing a press conference in Kathmandu on Wednesday.
According to him, the government should not have come up with the scheme in the first place if it had no intention of implementing it, and since the scheme has already been unveiled and many civil servants have already applied for voluntary retirement, the government cannot backtrack now.
The past government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba had announced an attractive voluntary retirement scheme for civil servants who did not wish to continue with the government service under the new federal setup. But the new KP Oli-led government put the package on hold until further notice, stating that it would incur additional burden to the state coffers as the government will have to provide unnecessary incentives to the civil servants.
Over 9,000 civil servants have applied for the scheme, according to the ministry record. Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration Lal Babu Pandit, however, has been maintaining that the ministry will revise the scheme to allow voluntary retirement only to those with compelling reasons.
“Our point is that the scheme should be implemented as announced by the past government,” Dhakal added.
Dhakal also criticized Minister Pandit for making remarks against the official trade unions. “The minister should refrain from making statements threatening the trade unions,” he added.
Similarly, the trade union has also accused the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration of trying to curtail roles of the official trade union in the draft of the Federal Civil Service Bill. “We urged the ministry to ensure rights of the official trade union as well as other trade unions of civil servants in the new Act. We also want the ministry to consult trade unions before finalizing the bill so that genuine concerns of civil servants who will be integrated in the federal setup can be addressed,” Dhakal said.
The trade union has also asked the government to revise salaries and other perks and benefits in line with inflation. Dhakal said that the trade union will announce protests if their demands are not addressed by June 2.