2017 - our experience & 2018 - our pledge
trust of employees and pensioners retrayed
and their hopes ended in despair
and their hopes ended in despair
“there is no alternative to the struggle for existence”
Secretary General, Confederation
Seventh Central Pay Commission Chairman, Justice (Retired) Ashok Kumar Mathur in his foreword to 7th CPC Report has quoted the following lines in the case of Bhupendra Nath Hazarika and another Versus State of Assam & others wherein the Supreme Court of India has observed as follows:
“It should always be borne in mind that legitimate aspirations of the employees are not guillotined and a situation is not created where hopes end in despair. Hope for every one is gloriously precious and that a model employer should not convert it to be deceitful and treacherous..... A sense of calm sensibility and concerned sincerity should be reflected at every step. An atmosphere of trust has to prevail and when the employees are absolutely sure that their trust shall not be betrayed and they shall be treated with dignified fairness, then only the concept of good governance can be concretized. We say no more.”
We don’t know whether the powers-that-be at the helm of affairs of the Central Government has ever read the above observations of the Apex Court quoted by 7th CPC. Fact remains - BJP-led NDA Government has guillotined the legitimate aspirations of the Central Government employees and pensioners and created a situation wherein their gloriously precious hopes ended in despair. The Government converted their hopes to be deceitful and treacherous. The stand taken by the Government is devoid of calm sensibility and concerned sincerity. Trust of the 32 lakhs employees and 33 lakhs pensioners is betrayed and their expectations of fair treatment from Government has been proved wrong.
Who gave the hopes and who betrayed:
In the wake of indefinite strike call given by National Joint Council of Action (NJCA) of Central Govt. Employees from 11th July 2016, in the crucial meeting held in the night of 30th June 2016, solemn assurance was given by none other than the topmost Cabinet Ministers of NDA Government Sri. Rajnath Singh, Home Minister, Sri. Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister and Shri. Suresh Prabhu, then Railway Minister. It was told that Hon’ble Prime Minister Sri. Narendra Modiji has directed the group of Ministers to hold discussion with NJCA leaders. Group of Ministers gave categorical assurance that minimum pay and fitment formula will be increased and for that purpose a High Level Committee will be constituted. Again on 6th July 2016 Sri. Rajnath Singh, Home Minister, reiterated the assurance and Finance Ministry issued a press statement confirming the assurance. Leaders and employees trusted the words of the Senior Cabinet Ministers. Eighteen (18) months are over. No High Level Committee is constituted. No hike in minimum pay and fitment formula is granted.
Delaying tactics and then denial:
From the very begining of coming to power, the NDA Govt. has adopted a tactics of “delay and then deny” the legitimate aspirations of the Central Govt. Employees and Pensioners. Pay Commission was granted four months extension. Empowered Committee took seven months and pay scales were implemented without any change after seven months delay from the date of submission of 7th CPC report. Allowance Committee took one year and finally arrears of HRA and other allowances for eighteen months are denied. Pension Option-I Committee was appointed to deny the one and the only favourable recommendations of the 7th CPC for Pensioners. NPS Committee made it clear that withdrawl of NPS or guaranteeing minimum pension (50% of the last pay drawn) are not under its purview. Anomaly Committee informed the JCM Staff side that 80% of the items submitted by staff side including increase in minimum pay and fitment formula will not constitute an anomaly and hence will not come under the purview of the Anomaly Committee. Regarding implementation of the positive recommendations of Kamalesh Chandra Committee on Gramin Dak Sevaks (GDS) also almost eleven (11) months are over after the submission of the report to Govt. on 24-11-2016. The brutal exploitation of casual and contract workers is increasing day by day. Eventhough Modified Assured Career Progression (MACP) is not regular promotion, instead of seniority-cum-fitness Government imposed more stringent conditions to deny the promotions to thousands of employees.
Wage, Job, Social Security and Trade Union rights under attack:
Not only the legitimate pay and allowances of the Central Govt. employees are denied, their job security is also under attack due to the neo-liberal policies pursued aggressively by the NDA Government. Many work done by Railway Employees are outsourced and privatised and now leasing out of Railway stations and Railway Land to private corporates under PPP model is under progress. Decision has been taken by Government to outsource and privatise Defence production and related activities like Research, Maintenance and services etc. and to permit 100% FDI in Defence industry. 200 products being manufactured by the Ordinance factories are ordered to be handed over to private corporates. Small Svings Schemes which was the monopoly of the Postal Department is outsourced to private banks and orders for outsorucing of booking and delivery of registered and speed post article is also issued. Out of 17 Govt. of India Printing Presses 12 presses are ordered to be closed as per Cabinet decision. Many other small departments are also facing the attack of outsourcing, privatisation and closure.
Orders are issued by Govt. threatening serious disciplinary action against employees who participate in dharnas, demonstrations and strikes. JCM National Council meeting was not held for the last seven years. Most of the Departmental Councils are not functioning. Chief Executives of recognised Associations are harassed and vindictively transferred and recognition and trade union facilities to the Associations are withdrawn. Results of the membership verification under the Recognition Rules are not being declared and even verification process under check-off system is stopped half-way.
NPS has become “No-Pension System” as many of the employees who retired after 10 to 12 years are getting monthly annuity pension (from Insurance Company) less than Rs.2,000/- only whereas the minimum pension for 10 years service under the old pension scheme is now Rs.9,000/-. Government is not ready to heed the demand of the staff side to withdraw Contributory Pension Scheme and guarantee minimum pension (50% of the last pay drawn) to all under Contributory Pension Scheme. The observations of the 7th CPC that - “almost the whole lot of Government employees appointed on or after 01-01-2004 are unhappy with the New Pension System. Government should take a call and look into their grievances” remains in paper. Thus the social security of the employees is facing greatest threat from Government.
‘Tough time never last, but tough people do’
No doubt the entire working class along with Central Government employees are passing through a tough period. Their life and livelihood are under attack. And at the same time resistance movement against the policy offensives are gaining momentum. Entire Trade Unions (barring BMS) has organised three days “Maha Dharna” at New Delhi in which lakhs of workers participated. BMS was also compelled to organise a separate protest programme against the retrogade policies of the Narendra Modi Government. Central Government employees under the banner of Confederation conducted series of agitational programmes like Parliament March, One day strike, Mass dharna in front of Finance Minister’s Office, Human Chain, Burning of HRA Orders, District level dharnas, State level dharnas etc. demanding settlement of 21 point charter of demands submitted to Government. Coming days will witness more sectoral struggles and joint struggles leading to indefinite strike.
No alternative for struggle:
Thus the struggles of the Working Class which was hitherto defensive in nature, is becoming more and more offensive. We have to intensify our struggle during 2018 for our survival. Let us remember and tell our friends in the Central Govt. Employees movement who are waiting peacefully and endessly hoping for justice from NDA Government -
“Organise if you want real living wages, organise if you want to have your working hours reduced, organise if you desire better treatment from your superior officers, organise if you want that the authorities should consult and consider your opinion on all administrative measures affecting you. Petitions, memorandums and supplications will count for nothing, so long as you do not organise yourselves in a manner to convice the Government that you will no longer stand nonsense.”
Let us march forward with full commitment and determination.
Ultimate victory shall be ours.
If it weren’t for the Union
Our union’s story is there to be seen,
We’ve won many victories and we’ve suffered defeats,
But as I turn through the pages and look back through time,
There’s one single question stands out in my mind -
Today we may prosper, today we live free,
But if it weren’t for the union, where would we be?
From it’s humble beginnings our union has grown,
So no working person need struggle alone.
But no gain that’s been made has been made without cost,
And together we’ll see that no gain’s ever lost;
Take a look at those countries where workers aren’t free-
If it weren’t for the union, where would we be?
Would you choose to go back, working twelve hours a day,
Would you choose to toil more and a pittance be paid?
Will you stand in the union against the new right,
or do you think on your own you can withstand their might?
The answer is written in our history,
If it weren’t for the union, where would we be?
They say we’ve got problems, and the unions they blame,
Well, Franco and Pinochet they said the same.
If our union they weaken, if our union they break,
Then where’s our defence from becoming enslaved?
So would you choose bondage above liberty?
And if it weren’t for the union, where would we be?
It’s our union, our union that defends our rights,
But our union is as strong as our will is to fight,
For the union is you and the union is me,
So stand up and stand by our union.
- Peter Hicks and Geoff Francis.