Mumbai: Around 17 lakh employees of the Maharashtra government are on a three-day strike beginning Tuesday to press for demands like the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission. However, around 1.5 lakh gazetted officers withdrew from the strike after a Government Resolution (GR) was issued on Monday night stating that the pending arrears of the Dearness Allowance (DA) for a period of 14 months will be paid to them. Another GR was issued stating that the 7th pay commission will be implemented from January 2019. The demand of employees for a five-day week and raising the retirement age from 58 years to 60 years will be taken up during Diwali, an official said. The arrears will be paid in the salaries of employees for August month, as per the GR. If the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission is delayed, the employees will get the benefit as per the wage structure of the Central government employees from January 2019, it stated. Earlier in the day, state Government Employees Organisation president Nitin Sardeshmukh said class III and class IV employees of Zilla Parishads, state hospitals, staff working at Mantralaya (secretariat) will participate in the strike. "The employees of the Central government have been getting the benefits of the 7th pay commission since 2016. Seven state governments have implemented the pay commission," he said. Sardeshmukh said the employees are yet to receive the arrears accrued to them since the implementation of the sixth Pay Commission by the state government. He said 1.85 lakh posts of class III and class IV employees are lying vacant in Maharashtra. "Moreover, the demand for filling up 30,000 posts on compassionate grounds is also not accepted by the state government," Sardesmukh claimed. He said around 30 to 40 per cent of total posts are lying vacant in hospitals and other essential services departments. A General Administration Department (GAD) official said the employees working in essential services deparments like hospitals, fire brigade, water supply etc. Have been directed not to join the strike, or else provisions of Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) will be invoked against them.