CO-OPERATION CANNOT BE A ONE-SIDED AFFAIR
The Government and Postal Board has the responsibility to settle the genuine issues of the employees for maintaining industrial peace. The staff side is to be taken into confidence and issues are to be settled through negotiation of late, it seems that the Postal Board and Government is least interest in understanding the seriousness of the issues and taking remedial measures. No initiative is taken by Postal Board for a negotiated settlement. Certain officers at lower level has become most indifferent and arrogant. Issues are piling up day-by day but the Postal Gods are in deep slumber or pretend to be in deep slumber. Secretaries and DG’s come and go, but the situation remains unchanged. Taking advantage of the situation, certain Circle/Divisional heads, started harassing the employees to the maximum extent and find sadistic pleasure in it. Situation has become volatile and employees are compelled to treat the path of struggle.
Take the case of cadre-restructuring. Naturally, when every new proposal implemented, certain issues are bound to arise out of implementation. We have correctly identified by those issues after detailed deleberations in the Central Working Committee of AIPEU Group ‘C’ held at Raigarh. We submitted a letter to Secretary, Department of Posts, suggesting remedial measures for redressing the genuine grievances of the affected employees. Secretary, Department of Posts assured positive consideration. We requested that till our suggestions are considered and accepted, the implementation process may be kept in abeyance. Secretary, Posts, has agreed to consider this request also fovourably. Eventhough one month is over, neither the administration called the staff side for a detailed discussion nor the implementation process is kept in abeyance. This has developed a serious situation at the ground level, in some circles, where orders are issued for implementation and employees have become agitated.
More than 30% of the posts are remaining unfilled and the recruitment process started two years back is still going on in a slow pace. More and more employees are retiring from service every month and the burden of additional workload is thrust upon the remaining employees. Group ‘C’ employees, especially Postal Assistant cadre is the worst sufferers as no substitute is provided for vacant posts including leave vacancies.
The revision of wages and service conditions of three lakhs Gramin Dak Sevaks half of the workforce is abnormally delayed. Eventhough Kamalesh Chandra Committee Submitted its report in November itself, the approval of the nodal ministries and Cabinet is still pending.
The result of the membership verification conducted in 2015 is not yet declared. The membership verification process of Gramin Dak Sevaks is kept in abeyance for reason best known to the administration. Undue favour by granting trade Union facilities to an Association with less than 5% membership is continuing.
There is no progress in the other important and burning issues of the Postal employees submitted in the charter of demands of NFPE and Postal JCA, such as Postmaster cadre issues etc. NFPE being a responsible organisation, representation more than 70% of the Postal employees, always took a constructive approach in settling the problems through negotiation. Inspite of our best efforts when issues remain unsettled for months and years together, we cannot go on keeping silent. Cooperation cannot be a one-sided affair. The present situation in the Postal department is heading towards an inevitable and unavoidable confrontation with the Government and Postal Board, eventhough we tried our best to avoid such a situation. We extended full cooperation during the time of CBS/CSI implementation and demonetisation, in the best interest of the department, eventhough we suffered a lot. But there is a limit for everything.
It is in this background, the Federation Executive of NFPE is scheduled to meet on 12th May 2017. If the Postal Board and Government do not come forward to settle the serious issues confronting the Postal employees including issues related to cadre restructuring through negotiation, the Federal Executive shall take decision for serious agitational programmes including strike.