On the 30th day of the indefinite general strike, the Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday engaged the Telangana Employees' Joint Action Committee in talks for the first time but no breakthrough appeared in sight.
The JAC placed three demands before the government but without any promise that it would call off the strike if the demands were conceded.
The government, on its part, said it will have to discuss the demands and take a decision. "It will take some time,"
state finance minister and member of the cabinet sub-committee on employees issues Aanam Ramanarayana Reddy told newsmen at the end of the talks with the JAC leaders.
The cabinet sub-committee invited the TEJAC for talks on Wednesday to resolve the issue after the chief minister was directed by the Centre to end the indefinite strike that has totally paralysed governance in Telangana region.
The JAC demanded that the government immediately withdraw the Essential Services Maintenance Act enforced in certain departments as well as GO No. 177 that stipulates 'no-work,
no-pay' rule; withdraw all police cases booked against striking workers in the last 30 days and order an inquiry into the police action against JAC president K Swami Goud.
"We will discuss these demands with the chief minister and take a decision. But we have not got any assurance from the JAC that it would call off the strike if the demands are conceded," Ramanarayana Reddy said.
Since the GO related to 'no-work, no-pay' was being implemented on the orders of the state high court, the government would have to keep the court informed about any action in this regard.
On the employees' main demand creation of Telangana state the finance minister pointed out that the government of India was seized of the matter. "The prime minister himself is seriously looking into this. Hence, the strike need not be linked to it," he added.
TEJAC leader Swami Goud, however, told reporters that they would not take part in further talks with the government unless it immediately withdrew ESMA and GO 177. Also, all cases booked against striking employees should be withdrawn, he demanded.