Saturday, August 13, 2016

Battle lines are drawn - Get ready for one-day strike on 02.09.2016 - Is the strike a necessary one - Com. Samal from Bhubaneswar

“Not necessary for going on strike. People will laugh at us. Please don't make such kind of drama and take decision according to grass root level comrades”. 

Are you shocked? - Because we are writing!

No need to be bewildered since this is one of many such anonymous comments apart from series of telephone calls, SMS etc we are receiving soon after deferment of the proposed Indefinite strike scheduled to be organized from 11th July, 2016 under the banner of National Joint Council of Action comprising Railway Federations, Defence Federations and Confederation of Central Govt. Employees and Workers including National Federation of Postal Employees and Federation of National Postal Organizations. But we do feel that without going deep to the background story for deferring the indefinite strike, Mr. Anonymous has passed such a comment. We have the bitter experience that the some employees who only look after their own benefits and who don’t have any business with the mass interest do wait for such a situation to blame the leadership.

How can one so simply tell the well-organized struggle programme of 47 lakh Central Govt. Employees supported with 52 lakh C G pensioners by the biggest platform formed so far in the name of NJCA a drama? Why people will laugh at us? Are the Central Govt. Employees struggling for their own benefits only? Everybody should understand that the basic demand for enhancing the minimum wage will greatly benefit the state Govt. Employees and workers of the unorganized sector at large in a later stage.

We don’t respond to anonymous comments. But since most of our comrades are simple, honest and trustworthy, apprehending that such negative remarks/forces may demotivate our bonafide members and go against the interest of the mass, we prefer to justify our stand for the forthcoming one day strike on 2ndSeptember, 2016.

Background of deferring the Indefinite Strike :

As has been severally written and published, in spite of several round of country wide agitational programmes conducted by NJCA including massive Parliament March, the NDA Government did not respond to negotiate the demands with the staff side, but declared unilateral implementation of the recommendations of 7th CPC without any modifications through a cabinet decision on 29th June, 2016. But  due to the resentment, anger and protest of the entire Central Government employees, the Hon’ble Prime Minister directed three Cabinet Ministers including Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitly and Railway Minister Shri. Suresh Prabhu to hold discussion with the NJCA leaders on 30th June 2016. Major demands in the Charter of demands were discussed with particular reference to Improvement in Minimum wage and fitment formula. Issues relating to parity in pension was also discussed. Finally the Ministers assured that a high level committee will be appointed to consider the issues raised by the NJCA.

As no written minutes or communications were received from the Government regarding the 30th June discussion and assurances, the NJCA decided to go ahead with the strike. Country wide demonstrations were held daily in front of all offices and at all important centres. In Bhubaneswar Division, we conducted as many as 20 exclusive workplace demonstrations against the unilateral cabinet decision and greatly motivated the rank and file to bring a thundering success to the proposed Indefinite strike. We know the hard work we performed in this regard in obedience to the instructions of NJCA.

On 6th July 2016 when the NJCA meeting was in progress, Hon’ble Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh again invited the NCA Leaders for discussion. The Minister reiterated the earlier assurances and told that Finance Minister will issue a press statement making the Government stand clear on the demands. Accordingly, the Government issued a press statement on 6th July 2016 stating that the Ministers assured the Union leaders for considering the issues   by a High Level Committee.

As many as 17 leaders from all Federations / Confederations did participate in the discussion with the group of Ministers and there was no time to obtain opinion from the grass root level to take a decision. It was 6th July and we had to go for the Indefinite Strike from 11th July. Still some employees are of the opinion that we would have got a better settlement if NJCA has gone ahead with the indefinite strike.
Confederation has clearly clarified the situation as follows.

“All of us are aware that NJCA is not a monolithic, composite organization. It is a united forum of independent organisations. Each Federation has its own identity and individuality and take    decision as per the direction of the managing bodies of each organization. Hence different views may emerge in the NJCA, but final decision is taken by consensus. If each organization sticks to its own stand and others to follow it, there is no question of consensus and NJCA will not exist”.

While Com. M Krishnan, Secretary General, Confederation of Central Govt. Employees and Workers reiterated the above fact, Com. Shiva Gopal Misra, Convenor, NJCA made it clear in the circular dated 7th July 2016 as follows: -

Though there is positive assurance from the Govt. of India, but all of you will not take rest and assume counselling the cadre and ground staff that they should remain in full preparedness, because if there will not be satisfactory outcome, we will be having no alternative except to agitate the issues again.”

            Com. Shiv Gopal Mishra has already written on 26.07.2016 to Hon’ble Finance Minister and Home Minister to expedit action for setting up of proposed High Level Committee to review Minimum Wage and Fitment Multiplication Factor as was promised on 30.06.2016 meeting which paved the way for defferment of the proposed Indefinite Strike from 11.07.2016. The so called High Level Committee has not yet been constituted.

Central Govt. Employees are the worst sufferers:

As you know, after rejection of all our demands relating to minimum wage, fitment formula / factor, Annual Increment, Promotion etc. by the 7th Pay Commission including withdrawal of advances and allowances, the NJCA’s call for going on Indefinite Strike from 11.07.2016 was deferred on the circumstances narrated above. All our efforts to convince the Govt. for bringing suitable modifications in the recommendations of the 7th CPC are being delayed in the name of further examination by constituting of several committees, viz. Committee for allowances, Committee for anomalies and Committee for minimum wage and fitment formula.  When such committees are yet to be formed / give their report, most unfortunately, the Govt. hurriedly issued Gazette Notification on 29.07.2016 along with CCS (Revised Pay) Rules, 2016 for implementation of the recommendations of the 7th CPC on the basis of Cabinet Decision dated 29.06.2016 and now we are expecting the arrears and pay the revised scale during August, 2016.

Though many employees were of the opinion to keep in abeyance the implementation of the Cabinet decision dated 29th June 2016 regarding 7thCPC recommendations till the High Level Committee submits its report to Govt., the NJCA  after detail discussion decided not to demand it since the employees, especially those who are in the verge of retirement may be put to hardship.

You know very well that our learned Comrades throughout the nation are widely analysing the recommendations of the 7th CPC, CCS(Revised) Pay Rules, 2016 etc and finding out many lapses, shortcomings in the said recommendations / Rules which are being published in various websites. All these deficiencies need to be addressed properly which need a united struggle.

Let’s analyze in brief how the CCS (Revised Pay) Rules, 2016 affects the employees with defective Pay Matrix.

           a.    Loss in Annual Increment – in most of the cases less than 3% :

In addition to the retrograde recommendations, we also find many deficiencies in Cabinet Decision / Resolution, release of CCS (Revised Pay) Rules, 2016. As you know, straightway rejecting the demand of the Staff Side to give 5 % Annual Increment, the 7th CPC recommended 3% Annual Increment vide Para 5.1.38 of its report submitted to the Govt. on 19th November, 2015. But while giving the illustrative examples at Para 5.1.53 of the report, the Annual Increment is seen to be manipulated. In most of the cases, the Pay Matrix has been prefixed at a stage lower than the actual amount arrived after adding the increment of 3% to the Basic Pay. Some levels selected at random and calculated as follows show that the employees are at loss in drawing their annual increments.
Level
Sl. No. in the Pay Matrix
Basic Pay in the Revised Scale
Actual Pay after adding 3% Annual Increment
Basic Pay prefixed in the Pay Matrix
Amount of Loss to the employee
Actual increment
( % )
1
12
24900
25647
25600
47
2.81
1
26
37600
38728
38700
28
2.92
3
9
27600
28428
28400
28
2.89
3
16
34000
35020
35000
20
2.94
4
11
34300
35329
35300
29
2.91
4
22
47500
48925
48900
25
2.94
5
10
38100
39243
39200
43
2.88
5
20
51100
52633
52600
33
2.93
6
6
41100
42333
42300
33
2.91
6
9
44900
46247
46200
47
2.89

Most of the cells in the Pay Matrix suffer from the above deficiency. The employees have been cheated very shrewdly. The actual Annual Increment is not 3% as recommended by the CPC at Para 5.1.38 of its Report. But it is less than 3% as illustrated above according to the Pay Matrix.

b.    Loss in Promotion :

The above small difference will have also long term impact on the employees’ promotion inviting heavy financial losses. Illustratively, an employee with basic pay of Rs.44900 in the revised scale  at level 6 who is entitled to get Rs. 46247 with 3% annual increment is required to be fixed at Rs.46200 at level 7 as per Pay Matrix i.e. with a loss of Rs.47/-
Let’s calculate the impact of this small amount of Rs.47/- on his promotion.
Had his pay been fixed at Rs.46247, he would have got Rs. 47634 with 3% increment on promotion and his new pay in the next level would have been fixed at Rs.49000/- . But when his pay on promotion will be calculated at Rs.46200/- as per the Pay Matrix, he will get Rs. 47380/-  with 3% increment on promotion and his new pay in the next level would be fixed at Rs.47600/-
            Thus, for loss of Rs.47/- only in the Annual Increment, the employee will suffer a loss of Rs.1400/- during his / her promotion to the next level and this loss will have cumulative effect on rest period of the service career with financial loss on DA(s) and further promotion(s).
            This is just one example. We may find several disparities in the Pay Matrix both for Annual Increment and fixation of pay on promotion. 

          c.    Meagre benefit of Rs. 30/- only on promotion :

In addition, as per Para 13 of CCS (Revised Pay) Rules, 2016, one increment shall be given in the level from which the employees is promoted and he shall be placed at a cell equal to the figure so arrived at in the level of the post to which promoted and if no such cell is available in the level to which promoted, he shall be placed at the next higher cell in that level.
Illustratively, an employee  at level 6 with basic pay of Rs.49000 in the revised scale after getting 3% increment on promotion is entitled to get Rs.50470 whose pay will be fixed at Rs. 50500 in level 7 as per the Pay Matrix. Similar is the situation when an employee at level 7 with basic pay of Rs.49000 in the revised scale gets 3% increment on promotion is entitled to get Rs.50470 whose pay will also be fixed at Rs. 50500 in level 8 as per the Pay Matrix.
The Pay Matrix has been so prefixed that the employees drawing revised pay as above will be entitled for Rs.30/- only after getting the promotion to the next level. Will anyone call it a promotion in the corporate era? This is nothing but a serious betrayal to the C G employees in the name of Pay Revision. There are several other examples in the Pay Matrix.

              d.    No guideline in CCS (Revised Pay) Rules, 2016 in case of bunching.  

As per Para  5.1.36 of the 7th CPC Report  although the rationalisation has been done with utmost care to ensure minimum bunching at most levels, however if situation does arise whenever more than two stages are bunched together, one additional increment equal to 3 percent may be given for every two stages bunched, and pay fixed in the subsequent cell in the pay matrix.

Similarly as illustrated in Para 5.1.37 of the Report, if two persons drawing pay of Rs.53,000 and Rs.54,590 in the GP 10000 are to be fitted in the new pay matrix, the person drawing pay of Rs.53,000 on multiplication by a factor of 2.57 will expect a pay corresponding to Rs.1,36,210 and the person drawing pay of Rs.54,590 on multiplication by a factor of 2.57 will expect a pay corresponding to Rs.1,40,296. Revised pay of both should ideally be fixed in the first cell of level 15 in the pay of Rs.1,44,200 but to avoid bunching the person drawing pay of Rs.54,590 will get fixed in second cell of level 15 in the pay of Rs.1,48,500.

But while instructing fixation of pay in the revised pay structure under Rule 7 of CCS (Revised Pay) Rules, 2016, no guideline has been issued in this regard which may cause difficulty if situation does arise whenever more than two stages are bunched together. Thus, in the absence of clear instructions, the process of fixation of pay and calculation of arrears in the revised pay structure will be will be wrong and the senior employees will be forced to suffer.

e.    Wrong fitment in case of initial entry scale for Group-C employees :

The pre-revised entry scale of Rs. 8460 in level 3 under Grade Pay Rs.2000 multiplied by 2.57 gives rise to Rs. 21742.20 which has been fixed in the Pay Matrix as Rs. 21700 i.e. Rs.42/- less than what actually arrived with the given multiplying factor. We have already illustrated above how an employee will lose Rs.1400/- in his promotion for ignoring just Rs.47/- towards annual increment.

But this is not the case in HAG and Apex cadres.

f.     Misleading media propaganda :

The Government’s claim that big increase is given to the employees is totally false. In para 4.2.9 of the report, the 7th CPC has given a table depicting the percentage of increase provided by the successive pay commissions appointed after independence. According to the table, the 2nd CPC has made a paltry increase of 14.2.% (1960), the 3rd CPC gave a rise of 20.6% (1973), the 4th CPC 27.6% (1986), the 5th CPC 31% (1996) and 6thCPC 54% (2006) whereas the average increase granted by 7th CPC is only 14.29% (2016), while the percentage increase had been in ascending order all along, the 7th CPC has sought to reverse that trend. The meagre increase recommended and accepted by the Government without any change is the worst ever any pay commission has recommended since 1960. In 1960 five days historic strike of entire Central Government employees took lace demanding modifications of 2nd CPC recommendations.

Another claim of the Government is that it has accepted the recommendations of the 7th CPC to increase the existing salary by 2.57 times !!!. This is a totally misleading propaganda. The existing basic pay of a lowest level employee of the Central Government called Multi-Tasking staff (MTS) is 7000 plus 125% Dearness Allowance as on 01.01.2016. Thus the total salary as on 1st January 2016 is 7000 + 8750 DA = 15750. The Minimum pay recommended by 7th CPC is 18000 i.e; the actual increase in salary is Rs. 2250/- only at the lowest level. The fitment factor of 2.57 is worked out excluding the 125% DA an employee is getting at present. As the next wage revision takes place only after ten years in 2026, the above increase of 2250/- in the salary is meagre.

In the past, every time, either before or immediately after the appointment of pay commissions, the employees are granted DA merger, Last time, before appointment of 6th CPC, Government has granted merger of 50% DA in 2004 and the merged DA is treated as Pay for all purposes. This time no DA merger is granted. Suppose, as in the past, the Government has accepted the demand for merger of 50% DA as on 01.01.2011 when DA crossed 50%, the total salary of an employee at the lowest level as on 01.01.2016 will become Rs.18395/- (7000 + 50% DA 3500 = 10500 + remaining 75% DA as on 01.01.2016 Rs.7875 = 18395). Thus it can be seen that even if no pay commission is appointed by Government, simply by granting DA merger alone the lowest level salary will become more than 18000/- which is recommended by 7th CPC after 21 months study and spending crores of rupees for its functioning.

We have to explain this aspect to the members of public at large. The propagated news by the Govt regarding hike in pay is far from truth.

Continuing struggle on general issues:

Beside 7th CPC related issues, united struggle is continuing on advancement in the wages and service conditions of Central Government Employees for which the unity built up under the banner of NJCA is to be maintained and strengthened. Further the neo-liberal policy offensives of the NDA Government in the Central Government Employees Sector including privatisation, outsourcing, downsizing, contractorisation, corporatization, winding up of departments, New Pension Scheme etc. can only be resisted and reverted by building up united movement of the entire employees. Even though the Indefinite Strike exclusively organized on 7th CPC related issues has been deferred for the time being, the Central Government employees shall continue their united struggle against the anti-people and anti-labour policies of the Government.

It will be worth mentioning here that in an exclusive interview with Headlines Today's Karan Thapar on the first anniversary of BJP-led NDA government on 1st May, 2015, Arun Shourie, one of the most influential BJP leaders during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, criticised the Prime Minister for poor handling of the Indian economy. The government lacks clear thinking.  There is a big gap between perceptions and promises, and projections and performances. The economic policy is directionless without any big picture. The growth claims are only to make headlines and the government only wants to manage headlines. This has been substantiated by World Street Journal  in an article titled “India’s Modi at one year -  Euphoria phase is over, Challenges loom” and several other foreign media houses like New York Times. Mr. Modi’s “Make in India” drive, which aims to supercharge manufacturing growth to 12% to 14% a year, is so far mostly hype. The economy is merely limping along.

While the initial slogan “Acchedin Aaaenge” has almost lost its identity within a period of 2 years of the present Govt. , now “Hamara Desh Badrahahe” is on the floor. But actually who are the people behind the growth of the nation? As per Para - 3.49 of 7th CPC Report,  out of  the total 33.02 lakh civilian workforce, 89 percent are in Group `C’, 8 percent are in Group `B’ and 3 percent are in Group `A’. While 89 percent of civilian Central Government personnel are in Group `C’, the Railways, Department of Posts and MHA have a significantly higher proportion in Group `C’ at 99 percent, 96 percent and 92 percent respectively. The Govt. telling “Sabka Saath Sabka Bikash” is grossly ignoring these low paid poor Group-C employees who are 89% of the total strength and who play a major role in building the nation. The words and deeds are totally different.

So Comrades, we cannot ignore the overwhelming 

majority of toiling masses.

We have to move a massive organizational campaign against the anti-employees/anti-workers/anti-people policies of the Govt. We have to raise voice against the arbitrary amendment of Labour laws. We have to ensure the minimum basic wage fixed for the organized sector should be extended to the unorganized sector with assured enhanced pension.  Ban on creation of new posts and non-filling up of about 7.47 lakhs vacant posts had increased the work load of the existing employees and adversely affected the efficiency of the services.   As per Para 3.23 of the Report of the 7th CPC, out total sanctioned strength of 40.49 lakh as on 01.01.2014, 33.02 lakh of persons are in position. Thus there is a vacancy of 7.47 lakh in different departments of Central Govt. As clarified in Para - 3.25 of the Report,  persons in position as a percentage of sanctioned strength has fallen from 86 percent in 2006 to 83 percent in 2010 and to 82 percent in 2014. During the period 2006 to 2014 every major ministry/department witnessed a decline in persons in position, with the exception of MHA/Police. The total strength of the Ministry of Home Affairs witnessed an increase from 7.44 lakh to 9.80 lakh constituting a growth of 32 percent. Excluding Ministry of Home Affairs, the persons in position in the Central Government declined from 25.29 lakh in 2006 to 24.18 lakh in 2010 and further to 23.21 lakh in 2014.

The New Pension Scheme (NPS) implemented with affect from 01.01.2004, is nothing but a “No Pension Scheme”, as it is fully dependent on the vagaries of share market forces. The Govt. is not ready to grant civil servant status to Gramin Dak Sevaks and to regularize the services of causal, contingent and contract workers. The 5% ceiling on compassionate appointment is not yet removed. The bonus ceiling enhancement from Rs.3500/- to Rs. 7000/- is not made applicable to Central Govt. Employees. We cannot repeat the same mistake and allow the Companies to rule us. From the day one, the BJP led NDA Govt. has been engaged in protecting interests of domestic and global corporate houses. A process is going on now by the NDA Govt. first to corporatize not only Department of Posts but several other Govt organizations and PSUs and then to gradually weaken those organizations through disinvestment and eventually either to privatize or to close such organizations as if the present Govt. is a Govt. of the Corporate for the Corporate. But, we cannot allow the innumerable multinational companies patronized by NDA Govt. to rule us again.

And on the basis of the above general issues, the forthcoming one day nationwide strike is going to be organized on 2nd September, 2016 by all Central Trade Unions and independent  Federations of  Employees of  different industries and services including Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers and National Federation of Postal Employees. Since the Central Govt. Employees are worst affected, we have to play a major role in the nationwide general strike on 2nd September, 2016. The Charter of Demands of the above proposed strike has been divided in two parts – Part A for general issues relating the common citizens of India and Part – B for issues relating to the Central Govt. Employees.

Before considering our status as Central Govt. Employees, we are the responsible Indian citizens having some moral responsibilities towards the society and nation as well which need to be discharged timely and properly. We can’t sit silent when the basic rights of the workers are being snatched away without social security in the name   of reformation.

=Bruhaspati Samal
Secretary, AIPEU, Group-C
Bhubaneswar Division.

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