Any tech-related problems of government departments, including the Civil Secretariat, will have to wait for a solution as the IT staff has gone on strike across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Monday. The employees demand promotion and an improved service structure.
They vowed to continue with the boycott of their duties till their demands are met. Their decision could have an adverse effect on the ongoing budget preparations for the next fiscal year.
The employees, under the umbrella of the Civil Secretariat IT Staff Association, held a protest and chanted slogans at the Secretariat. These came at a time when the top bureaucracy and provincial cabinet members were gathered in the cabinet room for a meeting.
Sans service structure
“We have been working as grade-12 employees for over two decades and not even one of us has gotten a promotion,” said IT Association General Secretary Akhunzada Shakeel Ahmed. He was accompanied by computer operators, data processors and assistant programmers working in different departments of the Civil Secretariat.
“The entire government machinery is affected by our strike because we do all the computer-related jobs and we are on strike across the province,” he said. He added the total strength of IT employees at the Secretariat was 120, while they were 2,600-strong throughout the province. The general secretary said their strike is causing losses worth millions of rupees to all government departments, including excise and taxation.
Ahmed himself has been working in the finance department for the last 26 years as a grade-12 employee. He has been superseded by many less-qualified juniors working in the government in other capacities.
“Some people are promoted from grade-4 to the post of deputy secretary because they have proper service structures,” said the association’s president Syed Habibullah. He has spent over two decades serving in grade-12 at the Civil Secretariat.
The K-P government is spending Rs7 billion on information technology in the province but there is no trickle-down effect to the employees, say protesters. “We want the government to upgrade IT staffers to grade-16 and then continue their promotions according to their experience,” said Habibullah. He added all IT staff members have at least a bachelor’s or master’s degree in their field.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2015.
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