The Standing Committee of the JCM National Council met on 9th October, 2015. As you are aware, earlier, the National JCA had decided to defer the strike action and organize a massive Dharna programme at Jantar Mantar on 19th November, 2015 to register its strongest protest over the Government’s engineered delay in the submission of the 7th CPC Report. Later, the Finance Ministry has issued a statement asking the 7th CPC to factor into its report the fiscal concern of the Government, which was an unwarranted interference in the independent functioning of the Commission and to pressurize the Commission not to recommend wage rise on the basis of a sound and scientific formulation.
The Staff side on receipt of the invitation to have the meeting on 9th October, decided to respond and convey to the Government their strong resentment over the virtual dilution of the negotiating forum as also the above concerns. In the meeting the Staff side was informed that the Secretary Personnel would be meeting the Standing Committee soon and the meeting on 9th was in fact only a prelude to understand each other’s points of views. It was in the background the meeting was held on 9th October, 2015.
The leader and Secretary, Staff Side conveyed the unanimous decision of the National JCA as under to the Government.
(a) The Standing Committee, as per procedure evolved, must be chaired by the Secretary Personnel.
(b) The JCM Machinery’s functioning should not be diluted.
(c) The promised meeting of the National Council has not taken place so far.
(d) The minutes of the last two meetings of the National Anomaly Committee have not been formally issued.
(e) ‘The Official side Secretary must convene a meeting of the Staff Side to iron out any difference in the draft minutes.’
(f) Normally meetings are held after circulation of the ATS. This has not been done.
(g) The Official Side must convey the anguish of the employees over the delay in the submission of the report by the 7th CPC which they rightly feel has been engineered by the Government. They also pointed out that they are constrained to believe that the Govt. was unnecessarily interfering in the functioning of the Pay Commission.
We give here under a brief resume of the discussions held on the agenda items.
After the initial remarks made by the Staff Side all issues in the charter of demands were discussed. There had been however, no final settlement on any issue as the meeting itself was not convened for that purpose. The Staff Side stated that even the promises held out in the last meeting that the Departmental Council meeting would be held soon was not honoured.
On the question of Pay revision related issues, viz. Interim relief, DA merger, inclusion of GDS etc . elaborate discussions were held. It has come out clearly that on all these issues, the Finance Ministry has taken an nugatory Stand, even though the arguments put forth were extremely untenable. It was pointed out by the Staff Side that the Interim relief and DA merger was denied on the specious plea of submission of the report in the stipulated time. Having extended the time, the Govt. ought to have considered the grant of these two demands. There had been a very elaborate discussion on the question of inclusion of the GDS within the purview of the 7th CPC. The Postal Department’s representatives narrated the efforts made by them to the Government for conceding this demands. The Finance Ministry has stood firm and objected to the demand being agreed to. The Staff Side has, in the given situation of the 7th CPC having finalised its report, requested the Government to refer the matter to a Judicial Committee headed by the present Chairman, 7th CPC as he has now been fully apprised of the functioning of various ministries and Departments of the Government through the interaction with the Staff and official sides. No commitment was however made by the Government to the above suggestion.
On the question of induction of FDI in Railways, Corporatisation of Postal Department and Defence organisations, the representative of the Railway Ministry stated that they are constantly discussing the issues with the Railway Federations and was exploring the possibility of reaching an agreement. In the case of corporatisation of the Postal Department, it was stated that the recommendations made by the Committee was discussed with the Federations and it has been agreed that except induction of certain professionals at the managerial level to fine tune the functioning of the Department in the changed scenario, the Federations have been assured that no structural changes would be made without consulting them. However, in the case of Defence, no discussions with the Federations have been held so far.
PFRDA. The Staff Side pointed out the present scenario in the Government offices, where the number of employees and officers who are outside the ambit of the statutory pension scheme has grown and have reached in certain organisations to the extent of 25 to 30%. These employees are extremely concerned of the new scheme and their anguish have been expressed in many forms. The Unions would be compelled to take drastic action if the Government refuses to heed to their plea to effect a relook or revisit on the matter. The representatives of the Railways pointed out that the Honourable Minister for Railways was convinced of the situation and that was the reason why he had written to the Finance Ministry that in the given situation of the Railway functioning, the new scheme would not only jeopardise the interest of the Railwaymen but also of the Railway Industry itself.
On the specific question raised by the Staff side in the last meeting in respect of resolving the issues of Medical Store Deport and the Printing and Stationery department, the Staff Side stated that only the meeting of the Medical Store Depot was held and the issues have been resolved to some extent. The Printing and Stationery Department has now sent a communication to the Staff Side fixing the meeting on 15th October ‘15. The general issues emanating from the policy of outsourcing and contractorisation was also discussed at length.
JCM functioning had been the central point of discussions. The Staff Side has pointed out that unless the Government makes up its mind that the machinery should be put on operation, no industrial peace would come in the functioning of the various departments of the Govt. of India. The Staff side asked the Department of personnel to collect the information of the number of cases litigated in the courts by the Government employees in 1991 and 2015 and make a comparison to know the seriousness of the problem.
On compassionate ground appointments question, it was stated by the Staff Side that despite advancing no cogent argument by the official side for retaining the 5% ceiling, the Department of personnel does not want to make a re look into the matter. The Staff Side pointed out that large number of applications were pending in various Departments, and the concerned department would not be able to clear them even after 20 years for want of the requisite vacancies. They also pointed out that the decision of the Government to impose the 5% ceiling was amounting to a cruelty imposed on the family members of the Government servants who dies in harness.
The Labour Ministry representative was present at the meeting. The meeting did not discuss the merits and demerits of the labour reforms as the Trade Unions in the country has rightly concluded that it has been conceived to favour the corporate houses and to take away the existing privileges of the workers. The point at issue, however, at the meeting was as to why the Labour Ministry did not cause a consultation with the Industrial Federations in the Government of India, for whom the Industrial Disputes Act is applicable. The Labour Ministry has assured to convene a meeting of the representatives of such organisations soon.
The Labour Ministry representative also stated that the government has agreed to raise the bonus ceiling but it would not be appropriate for him to make a mention of the quantum as the Cabinet is yet to give its clearance. The Government would be able to take a decision in the matter only after the Bihar elections are over.
The Staff Side explained the background of the demand for five promotions. The reaction of the official side was that the matter must be appropriately discussed only after the 7th CPC report is made available.