Over 15 lakh employees of the Maharashtra government began a three-day strike on Tuesday demanding the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations. Their other demands include payment of dearness allowance for 14 months, a five-day working week and increase in the retirement age from 58 to 60 years.

The strike has been collectively organised by the Maharashtra State Gazetted Officers Federation, the Maharashtra State Employees Organisation, and the Maharashtra State Class Four Employees Association.

Maharashtra Rajya Sarkari Karmachari Madhyavarti Sanghatna General Secretary Avinash Daund said essential services in various departments, including government hospitals, are likely to be affected as Class 3 and 4 government employees have joined the strike, PTI reported. Daund also accused the government of paying “lip service” to their demands.

On Monday, the state government directed all employees to report for duty on Tuesday, warned of disciplinary action against those who failed to comply under the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act and threatened salary cuts, IANS reported.

As many as 17 lakh employees were supposed to go on strike but around 1.5 lakh withdrew after a Government Resolution issued on Monday night said that the state would pay the pending arrears of the Dearness Allowance, The Indian Express reported. On Saturday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said the Seventh Pay Commission will be implemented for state government employees from January 2019.

Milind Sardeshmukh, president of an employees’ association, said they had called off a strike twice last year after assurances from the chief minister. “But nothing has happened,” he said. “So, we have now decided to go on strike for three days.” He said employees of zilla parishad and municipal councils, teaching and non-teaching staff will participate in the strike.

Sardeshmukh said government employees are yet to receive arrears accrued to them since the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission by the state government. The demand to fill 30,000 posts on compassionate grounds has also not accepted by the state government, he said according to PTI.