National Federation of Postal Employees
1ST Floor, North Avenue Post Office Building, New Delhi - 110001
Federation of National Postal Organisations
T-24, Atul Grove Road, New Delhi - 110001
No. Postal JCA/2/ 2008 Dated: 28th February 2008
Department of Posts,
New Delhi - 110001
Sub: Objections on the change of nomenclature of Railway Mail Service (RMS) into " Mail Business Arm"- reg.
Ref: No. 6-5/2007-D dated 30.01.2008 and
No.25-21/2003-PE-I dated 23.07.2007 &
FNPO letter No.RMS/08 dated 12.02.2008.
NFPE and FNPO lodge their strong protest on the proposed change of nomenclature of RMS into 'Mail Business Arm', for the following reasons:
a) The proposal is not in accordance with law: The various rules regarding the establishment and functioning of RMS are contained in different Postal Manuals starting from Volume V, Volume VII, FHB Vol. and I. II and in host of other volumes spread over. All these Volumes, as is well known to the Postal Directorate, are based on the Constitution of India and various Articles contained therein. For instance, FHB Vol. I derive its authority from Clause 1 of Art. 283 of Constitution. Unilateral action to change the nomenclature, it is strongly felt, is not in consonance with the Constitutional provisions and may have to be explained accordingly before the Hon'ble Parliament and any amendment, and in this case, large scale amendments are involved, is to be placed before Parliament.
b) The issue of Motivation and Trade Union participation: The avowed purpose of this exercise, it is told, is for developing more business in the normal mail category as well as in the business mail category. Only a highly motivated work force can achieve this. Motivation is a product of shared vision. The proposed unilateral decision in this regard without involving the Unions and adequate pre-discussions is not at all motivating anyone.
c) The logic in the office memorandum dated 30.1.2008 in Para 1 is defective: The contention of the Department that the name of the operational mails wing was called RMS to reflect the transmission of the mails through Railways and in the Sorting sections and in the Mail Offices at Railway stations or nearby is well taken. But the fact of the matter is that the position has not changed as dramatically as made out in this Para of OM under ref. Way back in 1948 itself, Airmail came into existence and road transmission had always existed simultaneously with Rail transmission. Therefore, the founding fathers of the Department had in the past gave this wing the name 'RMS' knowing all these facts. Further, even today the largest quantum of mails are processed, forwarded and distributed through the RMS offices and Sorting Offices located closely to Railway stations. Thus, there is no statistical evidence to support the contention of the Directorate. If the Directorate.has the detailed data on the quantum of mails sent through the Railways, processed in the Mail Offices, on the Railway stations and nearby railway stations vis-a-vis the mails handled in the Airport and the mails handled by the surface / roads, it may kindly give the data for meaningful debate before a final decision. Further there is a proposal by the same Directorate to abolish Departmental MMS. One suspects in these measures, a thin end of the wedge to destroy and privatize the DMMS? We were given to understand that this proposal has already been given a green signal. A debate is called for since we are not able to appreciate the outsourcing of mail conveyance through private motor cars.
d) Our vision statement and the concept of service: Our vision statement reads as follows:
" Socially committed, technologically driven, entrepreneurially managed and self supporting institution. " Will the word "Arm" reflect our social commitment better than the word" service"? The answer is obvious. The word "service" is critical to reflect our commitment to the society. If the argument is that each arm cant not carry the word " service", then how does the Department propose to send the signal for social commitment to the society at large? There is much more than mere semantics involved. By the admission of the Department itself in its letter dated 23.7.2007, " while the market for mail products is definitely on the upswing, only India Post was not able to hold on to its share even in the unregistered non-express segment". The Department recognizes its dwindling grip over un-registered non-express segment. Who is the user of this segment? Largely, the common man and the society at large. Business community for reasons of economy and competitive advantage shifts its loyalty to the least price operator and the predating couriers. The only loyal customer for the Department is the general public who
(i) Because they post limited number of letters at a time and
(ii) They post letters not on a regular measure, patronize the Department.
Luckily, it is the largest volume of aggregation. Therefore the Department is still having loyal customers from general public. In marketing, what the best marketing manager expects is to have loyal customers. By a single stroke of removing the word 'service' and inserting the word 'Business' the Department will alienate the loyal customers and by the same token may not get new customers from business and industry to offset this loss of loyal customers. By even the modern management concept of marketing, this step of the Department is a retrograde one.
e) The Department has already a separate Business development Directorate focusing its attention on business products like Speed Post, Express Parcel Post, Logistics Post etc. By mixing these two clear segments the strategies are lost. While synergically, RMS gave the backbone to the new business products, by giving the new name of "Mail Business Arm" overnight, the focus will be shifted and the motivation of the largest number of employees would be lost. (By the way, it is a Division as against the Dte. Eg. PLI Dte. And BD Dte. Hence can not have a CGM as well as a senior DDG. In fact it cannot have the nomenclature of CGM for Railway Mail Service Division as the signature in the memo dated 30.1.2008 reveals. It only makes us wonder whether the Business Development Directorate has two CGMs? Has the importance given to the normal mails gone?]
f) The pending Bill before the Parliament will be subverted: The pending bill before the Parliament amending Post Office Act talks heavily about the universal service obligations. The courier industry can take advantage of the terminology "Mail Business Arm", rightly or even by twisting the word" Business" out of context, and argue against the Bill. Therefore the proposed change of name is inopportune and badly timed.
g) There are clear designations and recruitment policies for RMS as per the Volume V or Manuals of Dept. The present proposal appears to quietly change these rules by diverting and giving and new name. The NFPE and FNPO Federations strongly oppose this. This worry becomes all the more justified in the context of a Para in the above cited letter dated 23.7.2007 which reads, inter alia " reorganize the entire mail set up in the Department as a 'Mail Business Arm' with a clear mandate to bring about strategic changes in our organisational structure as well as HR policies…" Can the attempt to change the nomenclature be a move to change the recruitment rules without even a discussion with in the staff side?
h) Is the Department serious about really increasing the unregistered non-express segment mails? Are there alternate measures available? Examples like Swiss Post and French Post running their own trains? Is there a possibility on revenue sharing method to run leased trains with limited compartments to meet the special needs of the Postal Service as well as some passengers with lower tariff? May be the Railways, who are also under pressure from roadways, may consider this proposal positively. This has the advantage of fully utilizing the hundreds of RMS offices located in Railway stations. Suggestions like these, which are practical and logical, need to be examined, debated and acted upon. This is possible only when the Staff Side is called for continuous and meaningful discussions.
i) The Staff side is fully apprehensive that the change of nomenclature would cause serious problems with the Railways. The Department of Posts and the Department of Railways have to come to some understanding before such a change of nomenclature is resorted to. The Railways may take a position since it is not RMS but a mail business affair the Department cannot enjoy certain preferences and privileges available at present with regard to mail vans, accommodation in Railway Buildings including Platforms etc. We cannot convince ourselves that this is non-issue.
Both NFPE and FNPO are as much interested, if not more than the officers, for getting the larger volumes of mails. The act of unilateral change of the nomenclature of RMS, which has been synonymous with motivational cultural heritage - sets at naught the willingness for cooperation and pushes the staff side, if left with no option, to an agitation in an election year. We hope wisdom will prevail on Postal Board, which has approved the memo (did it?), which is a violation of law, and will call us for further discussion and will not give effect to the memo under reference.
With profound regards and hoping for meaningful approach to the issue.
SG FNPO SG NFPE
Secretary General NFPE