A group of Election Commission employees have decided to enforce an indefinite strike, protesting a move of the commission to engage its grade 10 staff in a new national identity card (NID) project by relaxing recruitment conditions for them.
The decision was taken in a joint meeting of Election Commission Officers’ Association and Karmakarta-Karmachari Oikya Parishad at the Election Commission Secretariat at Agargoan in Dhaka on Sunday.
Employees of the commission were present in the meeting presided over by Election Commission Deputy Secretary Nurujjaman Talukdar.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, Osman Goni Joy, secretary general of Karmakarta-Karmachari Oikya Parishad, said: “The Election Commission has sent a proposal for a new NID project, worth Tk1,600cr, to the Planning Commission for its approval. In the proposal, it suggested relaxing age and educational qualifications of technical and support staff of grade 10 to engage them in the project.”
He alleged that the Election Commission did not follow proper procedures and consult with them before sending the proposal.
“Assistant secretaries and upazila nirbahi officers, who were recruited in 2005 on Public Service Commission’s recommendation, will now be junior to the technical and support staff in their professional rankings if the proposal is approved. This is not acceptable,” Osman said, adding: “We decided to enforce a strike against the decision and will continue it for an indefinite period unless the decision is scrapped.”
He also said they would decide today whether to enforce the strike countrywide, or in Dhaka.
Osman said: “The new project has been undertaken to issue NID cards to the people, as the previous “Identification System for Enhancing Access to Services” project expired.
It was said in the proposal that grade 10 staff will be engaged in the new project with the rankings the grade 6 and grade 9 staff hold and with the same benefits they enjoy. This is a violation of law. There are no rules to engage grade 10 staff as grade 6 or grade 9 ones,” Osman added.
The Election Commission’s Additional Secretary Mokhlesur Rahman and Deputy Chief (planning and development) Saiful Haque Chowdhury sent the proposal to the Planning Commission, violating the rules, he alleged, demanding that the proposal be withdrawn immediately.
The new project, involving some 2,024 staff, will start in January 2018 and continue until December 2022.