NEW YEAR, NEW HOPES.
WE ARE ON THE STRUGGLE PATH
By the time this issue of “Postal Crusader” reaches your hand, an eventful year 2013 will be over and a new year 2014 is born. From our experience in the past, especially during the last year, we can definitely say that the year 2014 shall be an year of struggle for betterment of the living conditions of the common people of our country and the toiling masses including the Central Government Employees & Postal employees.
General election to the Parliament is scheduled to be held in the year 2014. The ruling class and also the corporate media have started their campaign, well in advance, in support of those who are ready to carry forward the rigorous implementation of neo-liberal globalisation policies. We have witnessed that when it comes to policy of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation, both UPA and NDA Government are two sides of the same coin. Concerted efforts are being made by the corporate media to relegate the issues raised by the working class in February 20,21 All India Joint Strike and 2013 December 12th massive Parliament March to the background. We should identify our friends and foes from our own experience and shall frontload the working class issues and conduct intensive campaign against those who are in favour of neo-liberal policies and also in support of those who are opposing the anti-people, anti-labour policies of the ruling class. Remember, in democracy ballot is more powerful than bullet. Let us use this weapon prudently and discreetly and move forward in our struggle by further strengthening those forces who are continuously fighting against this neo-liberal policies and for the cause of working class.
Eventhough the Government has announced constitution of 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC), the terms of reference and appointment of chairperson etc. are yet to be finalised. The unanimous proposal on terms of reference submitted by the staff side includes date of effect from 01-01-2014, DA merger, Interim relief, inclusion of GDS, statutory pension to those employed after 01-01-2004, minimum wage as per 15th ILC formula, settlement of anomalies and cashless, hassle free medical facilities. Now the ball is in the court of Government. In case the Government deliberately delay the appointment of CPC or reject the terms of reference submitted by the staff side, confrontation shall become inevitable.
Postal employees have put up stiffest resistance to the Government’s policy, to privatise the Postal sesrvices by amending Indian Postoffice Act 1898 for granting licence to private couriers, to close down 9797 departmental post offices, to merge about 300 RMS sorting offices and also to continue the ban on recruitment. Postal department is the only department where mass-scale recruitment and promotion through departmental examinations has taken place. The united struggle under the banner of JCA has prevented the Government to a great extent from implementing the neo-liberal policies in the Postal Sector.
Regarding 7th CPC, Postal employees have every right to get a better deal from Pay Commission and Government. The pay scales of each category of Postal and RMS employees including Gramin Dak Sevaks should be upgraded taking into consideration the fact that the cadre of PA, SA, Postmen, Mail guard, MTS exchanging mails and clearing letter boxes, Gramin Dak Sevaks are all unique to the Postal Department. Further IT modernisation project will be rolled out in full swing in 2014 and the skill of the postal employees including GDS in dealing with high technology will be further enhanced. Due to non-creation of additional posts in commensurate with the increase in workload due to introduction of new schemes and procedures and also due to abnormal delay in filling up of vacant posts, the workload of the Postal and RMS employees have increased manifold and this factor of extra-productivity should be taken into account while deciding the pay scales of postal and RMS employees including GDS.
Three lakhs Gramin Dak Sevaks and Casual, Part-time, Contingent employees are the worst sufferers of the Postal department. NFPE & FNPO has already decided to go for indefinite strike, if the Government rejects our demand for inclusion of GDS in the ambit of 7th CPC and revision of wages and regularisation of casual labourers.
NFPE & AIPEU-GDS (NFPE) had filed a writ petition in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India praying for implementation of the 1977 Supreme Court judgement declaring GDS as civil servants and grant of all benefits of departmental employees to GDS. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has ordered the Delhi High Court to consider and decide the case and the writ petition is accordingly transferred to Delhi High Court. Thus the final legal battle for departmentalisation of GDS has begun and 2014 will be a turning point in the history of GDS
In short, 2014 is going to be an year of struggle and advancement of the working class of India and also the Central Government employees including Postal, RMS & GDS employees. Let us welcome the new year with a pledge to continue our fight for a better tomorrow.