Why Central Government Employees go on nation wide one day strike on 8.1.2020
The return of the NDA Government, in the aftermath of 17th Lok Sabha election with larger and decisive mandate poses a big challenge for the entire working class movement. The Government which proved its commitment to the big corporate business houses, international finance and imperialism is more aggressive and brutal this time. The hell-bent move for privatisation of resource-rich as well as asset-rich public sector undertakings including Bharat Petroleum Company Ltd. (BPCL), Airports etc. massive outsourcing, aggressive corporatisation of Railway Production Units, major ports, and Ordnance Factories, closure of Government of India Printing Presses and Railway Printing Presses, complete deregulation of mining sector, handing over oil fields with huge investment for private exploration, legally writing off of major part of huge default of Corporates of around ten lakhs crore rupees, concessions in direct taxes to the corporates to the tune of 5.84 lakhs crore in the last five years, aggressive labour law reforms to impose conditions of slavery on the working people, facilitating expropriation of national assets and resources including land by the private corporate lobby, are some of the examples of this “big bang” pro-corporate and anti-people, anti-working class reforms. Government has made it clear that more reforms are in the pipeline.
National economy is pushed towards a greater disaster, towards perceptual dependence on international finance capital and imperialist powers. Country’s economy has been slipping into continuous slow down with virtual stagnation in employment generation. Unemployment rate in the country has been sky-rocketed to a 45 years high. Domestic markets, both industrial ,and consumer, are squeezed because of declining demand and consumption level owing to deepening impoverishment of the common people. The manufacturing sector is at its lowest. Job losses due to closure of industries and sales-outlets and also due to deep slump in automobile and construction sector is alarming. Income inequality and disparity between rich and poor has taken to an obscene level. Multiplication of the landless, hapless rural prolitariat is taking place in a big way.
The crisis in the economy has put the mass of the populace across the sector in tremendous sufferings and they are coming out in protest through various agitations, actions and mobilisation all over the country. The ruling class is getting increasingly intolerant to democratic expression of the masses. To divert people’s attention from the real cause of their sufferings, the ruling class is resorted to aggressive divisive machination and communal polarisation.
Therefore, the challenge is much bigger before us, but it is not insurmountable. The most crucial task before us, therefore is to further widen the unity of the working class movement and heighten the struggle towards offensive intervention. This broadest alliance is to be built up on the premise of uncompromising battle against neo-liberalism and its socio-economic and political instrumentalities. Central Government employees have a rich history and legacy of heroic struggles and sacrifices right from the colonial days. That rich history which we proudly inherit will inspire and give us confidence to unitedly confront and combat. We will definitely overcome.
II. Confederation and 10 points charter of demands:
Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers is the class-oriented militant trade union of the Central Government employees including Gramin Dak sevaks and Casual/Contract workers. Confederation always stood with the mainstream of the working class of India. Confederation is a constituent of the united platform of all Central Trade Unions (excluding BMS) and independent Federations. Confederation National Secretariat has unanimously decided to join the 8th January 2020 nationwide General strike in which about 20 crores workers of organised and unorganised sectors are expected to participate. Strike notice will be served to the Government and to all Departmental heads by Confederation CHQ and all affiliated Federations/Unions/Associations on 12th December 2019 with massive demonstrations and gate meetings. The following are the demands included in the 10 points charter of demands of Confederation.
1. Scrap New Contributory Pension Scheme (NPS) and restore Defined benefit Old Pension Scheme (OPS) to all employees who joined service on or after 0-01-2004. Guarantee 50% of the last pay drawn as Minimum Pension.
Government of India has implemented New Contributory Pension Scheme (NPS) for all Central Govt. employees entering service on or after 01-01-2004. The monthly pension amount being received under the Insurance Annuity Scheme under NPS varied from Rs.700 to Rs.3000/- per month, to those NPS employees who had already retired from service during 2018 and 2019, after completing 14 to 15 years of service, whereas as per the Old Pension Scheme an employee who completes minimum ten years qualifying service will get 50% of the last pay drawn as Minimum Pension which in any case will not be less than Rs.9,000/- for a lowest level employee with ten years service in Central service. In effecet the “New Pension Scheme” (NPS) has become a “No Pension Scheme (NPS). Thus the very principle laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India that “Pension is a social welfare measure rendering socio-economic justice to those, who in the hey day of their life ceaselessly toiled for the employer on an assurance that in their old age, they would not be left in lurch”, stands defeated. 10% of pay plus DA is recovered as monthly contribution fron NPS employees. After retirement they will not get any Dearness Relief, No Pension revision at the time of wage revision by Pay Commissions, No GPF but only voluntarily deposit in Tier-II account, No family pension on death after retirement, Pension not paid by Government but insurance companies are paying based on Annuity Insurance Scheme to be opted by the NPS employee and No additional pensions on attaining the age of 80 years or above. As per PFRDA Act there is no implicit or explicit guarantee by the Government regarding Pension. By discriminating between the Central Government employees who joined service before 01-01-2004 and after 01-01-2004, the Government has created a “class within the class”.
Further there are provisions in the PERDA Act to bring under the purview of Pension Fund, the existing OPS employees and also Pensioners through a Gazette notification. Seventh Central Pay Commission headed by Retired Justice of Supreme Court Shri. Ashok Kumar Mathur, in its report made the following observations about NPS:
“Almost a whole lot of Government employees appointed on or after 01-01-2004, were unhappy with the New Pension Scheme. Government should take a call to look into their grievances”.
Govt. appointed a Secretary level committee called “NPS Committee” for streamlining the NPS, but that committee was not mandated to look into the main demand of the NPS employees ie; scrap NPS, restore OPS and guarantee 50% of the last pay drawn as monthly pension. It is true that as per the recommendations of the NPS Committee, Govt’s. contribution to NPS is increased to 14% from 10% and some other cosmetic changes are also made in the NPS Rules. But the basic grievance still remained unattended and unsettled, as a result uncertainty about the social security and Pension looms large over the head of every NPS employee and the discontentment among the NPS employees (as correctly observed by 7th CPC) is growing day by day. We demand that NPS should be scrapped and OPS should be restored and at least 50% of the last pay drawn should be guaranteed as Minimum monthly Pension on retirement.
2. Honour the assurances given by Group of Ministers on 30-06-2016 to National Council (JCM) Standing Committee members regarding increase in Minimum Pay and fitment factor recommended by Seventh Central Pay Commission (CPC):
All the Federations/Unions/Associations in the Central Govt. Employees sector including Railways, Defence and Confederation had given a call for nationwide indefinite strike from 11th July 2016, demanding increase in Minimum Pay and Fitment formula recommended by Seventh CPC and other 7th CPC related issues. A group of Cabinet Ministers including Shri. Rajnath Singh, then Home Minister, Shri. Arun Jaitley, then Finance Minister, Shri. Suresh Prabhu, then Railway Minister discussed the demands with the leaders of National Joint Council of Action (NJCA) and assured that Minimum Pay and Fitment formula will be increased and a High Level Committee will be appointed to submit recommendations in this regard. The assurances were reiterated by Shri. Rajnath Singh, then Home Minister on 6th July 2016 in the second round of discussion and Finance Ministry issued a press statement confirming the assurances. Accordingly, the proposed indefinite strike call of the NJCA was deferred, taking in good faith the assurances given by the Group of Ministers. Even after a lapse of three years, neither the promised High Level Committee is constituted by the Govt. nor the Minimum Pay and fitment formula is increased. The entire employees and Pensioners are betrayed. We demand the Government to take immediate necessary action for implementing the assurances given by the Group of Ministers.
3. Grant “Option-I Parity” recommended by the 7th CPC to all Central Government Pensioners.
7th CPC has recommended a new formula called “Option-1” for refixing the existing pension of Central Government Pensioners retired prior to 01-01-2016. Government accepted the recommendation in principle and constituted a Secretary level committee to examine and recommend regarding the feasibility of implementing ”option-1” recommended by 7th CPC. The Committee was not, ready to heed the valid and scientific pleadings made by the staffside in favour of the recommendation made by 7th CPC which is an ”Expert Body” headed by retired Justice of Supreme Court, instead viewed the case with a closed mind and gave recommendation to the Government that implementation of Option-I is not feasible. Govt accepted the recommendations of the Secretary Level Committee and rejected ”option-I” recommended by 7th CPC.
The entire Pension community is very much aggrieved of the decision of the Government. We demand the Government to review the case dispassionately, so that the ”option-I parity” recommended by the 7th CPC will be accepted and implemented
4. Regularisation of Gramin Dak Sevaks working in Postal Department and casual/contract workers working in all Central Govt Establishments.
(a) About 2.76 lakhs Gramin Dak Sevaks are employed in the Postal Department. Govt. appointed a one man committee headed by retired Postal Board Member Shri Kamalesh Chandra, to examine their wages and service conditions. The final report submitted by the Committee includes certain positive recommendations. As abnormal delay took place in implementing the recommendations of the Committee, the entire Gramin Dak Sevaks went on indefinite strike for 16 days in 2018. Finally Govt issued orders, but some of the recommendations are either modified, diluted or rejected, including payment of arrears from 01-01-2016 as per the formula recommended by the Committee. We demand the Government to regularise the services of Gramin Dak Sevaks and also implementation of the pending positive recommendations of the Kamalesh Chandra Committee report.
(b) There are thousands of causal/contract employees and workers engaged in all Central Govt departments and working for years together. They are not paid equal wages and not extended any benefits of regular employees. Even after working for more than ten years continuously, their request for regularisation is not considered favorably. There is no scheme to absorb them in regular service. We demand the Government to workout and implement a scheme to regularise all casual/contract workers including Part-time, Contingent employees and daily rated mazdoors and extend them all the benefits of regular employees.
5. Stop Corporatisation / Privatisation of Railways, Defence and Postal Departments. Withdraw the orders for closure / reorganisation of Govt. of India Printing Presses, Geological Survey of India (GSI), Central Public Works Department (CPWD), Salt Department,Stationery Offices etc.
The no holds barred big bang reforms unleashed by the Central Government has given rise to an alarming situation in the Central Government Departments. The proposed move to Corporatise Railway Production Centres and allowing private passenger trains, Corporatisation of Defence Ordinance Factories, Life Insurance and Parcel Sector of Postal department, closure of Govt. of India Printing Presses, proposed reorganisation of Salt Department, Geological Survey of India (GSI), Central Public Works Department (CPWD), Stationary Offices etc. has put in danger the very existence of various Central Govt. Departments and also the job security of lakhs of Central Govt. Employees, Gramin Dak Sevaks and Casual/Contract Workers. The present fate of the Telecom Department which was corporatised in 2000 into different companies is a bitter lesson for all. We demand the Government to desist from the proposed move to corporatisation, privatisation, closure and reorganisation of Central Govt. departments.
6. Filling up of seven lakhs vacancies existing in various Central Govt. Departments:
As per the 7th CPC report (Annexure to Chapter-3) there are 7,47,171 vacancies in the Central Govt. Departments as on 01-01-2014. More retirements has taken place after 01-01-2014 and now the figure may go upto 8 lakhs. During the period from 2001 to 2008, thousands of posts are abolished in all Departments as per the downsizing orders issued by the NDA Government in 2001. Only very few posts are filled up after 2014 and most of the Departments are running with 30 to 40% shortage of manpower. This has resulted in heavy increase in workload on the existing employees and has adversely affected the efficiency of all Central Govt. Departments to a great extent. We demand the Government to take immediate necessary action for filling up all vacant posts in all departments of Central Government.
7. Revision of Wages from 01-01-2016 and payment of arrears of pay and Bonus from 2016 onwards to the employees of Autonomous bodies:
Due to the stringent conditions imposed by the Finance Ministry, the pay revision from 01-01-2016 and payment of arrears is still pending in most of the Autonomous bodies under Central Government. Further they are denied Bonus from 2015-16 onwards. We demand the Government to take necessary action to redress the long pending genuine grievances of the Autonomous body employees.
There are other issues also which is already submitted to the Government and the Heads of various Ministries/Departments which are listed in the enclosed Charter of Demands.
Confederation National Secretariat request each and every Central Government Employee to propogate the above genuine demands by all means among the entireity of Central Government Employees. We also request all Central Government Employees including Gramin Dak Sevaks and Casual/Contract Workers, to whole heartedly participate in the strike on 8th January 2020 and make the strike a thundering success in the Central Government Employees sector.
Organise, if you want to survive,
Organise, if you want to ensure job security
Organise, if you want to ensure better wages,
Organise, if you want your Pension to be protected,
Organise, if you want your Trade Union Rights to remain.
JANUARY 8TH ZINDABAD
ALL INDIA STRIKE ZINDABAD
With struggle greetings,
Email: [email protected]