General Council Meeting unanimously decided to hold Strike Ballot on 20-21st December, 2013 on the long pending demands of Railwaymen.
ALL INDIA RAILWAYME’S FEDERATION
4, State Entry Road, New Delhi – 1100055
New Delhi: 13th September, 2013 – Thousands of Railwaymen have thronged to the Metropolis of Delhi from all corners of the country to participate in the meeting of the General Council of the All India Railwaymen’s Federation(AIRF) at Northern Railway Badminton Hall Ground(adjacent to Karnail Singh Stadium), Basant Lane, Paharganj, New Delhi. The General Council Meeting of the AIRF is being held today to review the entire situation on the “Charter of Demands” formulated in the 88th Annual Conference of the AIRF, held in Visakhapatnam from 18-20 December, 2012, and to decide course of action . The General Council notes with dismay that, despite all out efforts of the AIRF, to have negotiated settlement on the Charter of Demands, it could not evoke proper response from the Ministry of Railways and Government of India.
After the report of the V CPC, Dearness Allowance(DA) was treated as “Dearness Pay” when it reached 50%. Due to steep rise in the prices of essential commodities, it has become impossible for the Railwaymen to contain their family budget. The percentage of Dearness Allowance due, as on 01.07.2013, has already reached 80% w.e.f., but the same has not been merged with the Pay. In the Public Sector Undertakings, revision of Wages and Allowances takes place at an interval of every 05 years, but in the Central Services, revision takes place after a long gap of 10 years. Every time, due to delay in appointment and submission of report of the Central Pay Commission, all the allowances, other than Dearness Allowance, are denied to the employees for months and years together. The same has happened after the report of the VI CPC as well, when the report of the VI CPC was implemented from 01.01.2006, all the allowances other than Dearness Allowances, were paid after a period of long two years and 8 months, i.e. w.e.f. 1st September, 2008.
This General Council of the AIRF demands for merger of 80% Dearness Allowance with the Pay w.e.f. 1st July, 2013 with consequential benefits in other allowances and appointment of the Seventh Central Pay Commission. The New Pension Scheme(NPS) has been passed by the Parliament despite serious opposition of the AIRF. The AIRF is totally opposed to the NPS, and this General Council demands for payment of Pension and Family Pension to all the Railwaymen, irrespective of their date of appointment. The General Council of the AIRF warns the Railway Board and the Ministry of Railways not to play with payment of Productivity Linked Bonus and reduce the payment, otherwise, the Railwaymen shall be compelled to act without any notice, the consequences of which shall squarely rest with the Ministry of Railways and the Railway Board. The General Council unanimously decides to conduct Strike Ballot throughout the entire system of the Indian Railways on 20th and 21st December, 2013 and calls upon the Railwaymen to participate in the Strike Ballotin a massive way.
For General Secretary/AIRF
PRODUCTIVITY LINKED BONUS TO THE RAILWAYMEN
After prolonged negotiations, formula for the Productivity Linked Bonus(PLB) was evolved, and an agreement was arrived at and signed in November 1979 between the Federations and the Railway Board(Ministry of Railways), sanctioning of Productivity Linked Bonus(PLB). It had its long term effects in the matter of industrial relations for the last four decades in the Indian Railways. Of late Railway Board have been bent upon to tighten the eligibility parameters of the Productivity Linked Bonus unilaterally. If the Railway Board and the Ministry of Railways insist to play with payment of Productivity Linked Bonus and reduce the payment, the Railwaymen shall be compelled to act without any notice, the consequences of which shall squarely rest with the Ministry of Railways and the Railway Board.
BURNING PROBLEMS OF THE RAILWAYMEN
The General Council Meeting of the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), held in New Delhi on 13th September, 2013, notes with serious concern that despite repeated attempts of the AIRF, to have negotiated settlement on the burning problems of the Railwaymen, response from the Ministry of Railways and the Government of India, is most discouraging. The AIRF staged a massive demonstration before the Parliament on 28.03.2012 and submitted a memorandum, containing 29-point Charter of Demands, addressed to Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. This was followed by Resolution, passed by the 88th Annual Conference of the AIRF, held in Visakhapatnam from 18-20 December, 2012, calling upon the Ministry of Railways, Government of India, to have negotiated settlement on the burning problems of the Railwaymen.
On 23rd August, 2013, Railway Board convened a meeting, where only a few items could be discussed, but major issues, like setting-up of VIIth Central Pay Commission, scrapping of New Pension Scheme and restoration of Old Pension Scheme, merger of DA with pay, upgradation of all the categories of staff in Grade Pay of Rs.2400 to GP Rs.2800, raising the ceiling limit of PLB from Rs.3500, grant parity in pension and family to the staff retired prior to 01.01.2006, exempt Transport Allowance and Special Duty Allowance from the purview of Income Tax, raise the ceiling of Income Tax from Rs.2 lakh to Rs.3 lakh, increase the amount of Fixed Medical Allowance and issue Smart 3 Card to all RELHS beneficiaries, etc. etc. could not be discussed and were left for discussion with other ministries of the Government of India. Periodical review of the Wages and Allowance in Public Sector Undertakings are being conducted in a period of 5 years, whereas in the case of Railwaymen and other Central Government employees, periodical review of the wage structure, allowances etc. takes place at an interval of long 10 years. Each and every time there is inordinate delay in the matter of appointment of Pay Commission, its report and implementation, resulting in loss of allowances, running from months to years. Last time, the report of the VI CPC was implemented from 01.01.2006, whereas all the allowances, other than Dearness Allowance, were granted after a period of long two years and 8 months, i.e. 01.09.2008. Due to steep rise in the prices of essential commodities, the percentage of Dearness Allowance has already reached 80% w.e.f. 01.07.2013. But the same has not been merged with the Pay.
New Pension Scheme(NPS) has been introduced by the Government of India at the teeth opposition of the AIRF. The NPS has denied 10% wages to the new entrants, appointed on or after 01.01.2004. Thus, the cardinal principle of “same work, same pay”, has been denied to new set of the employees. Further, although the deduction is defined, the benefit has not been defined, and one does not know what pension he will get after his retirement. Family Pension is also denied. The PFRDA Bill has been passed on the floor of the Parliament, brushing aside the protests of the Railwaymen and other organized working class of this country. To meet the public demand, new trains are being introduced and new assets are being created, but additional posts are not being created on the plea of Matching Saving not being available. All these have put extra burden to all the categories of staff. Due to non-filling up of posts in Safety Categories, Running Staff, Operating Staff and other staff belonging to the Safety Categories are being compelled to work longer hours, beyond their normal duties, their periodical rest is being abrogated and their due leave are being refused. Classification of Duty Hours of staff are downgraded from “Intensive” to “Continuous” and “Continuous” to “Essentially Intermittent” without any job analysis and posts are being surrendered on thumb rule, causing safety hazard for the travelling public and safety of the staff themselves. The High Powered Committee, to Review Duty Hours of Running and Other Safety Categories Staff, was appointed as per decision of the Strike Charter of 2006. The report of the said committee has since been published.
The report has totally disappointed the Railwaymen. Perennial nature jobs in thousands are being outsourced, violating the provisions of the Contract Labour(Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970. Contract labours are being exploited in the matter of wages, working hours etc. and they have no service security. Grievance Machineries, like PNM and JCM, have been made ineffective. Meetings are not being held at regular intervals and whenever held, even the agreed decisions are not being implemented making a mockery of negotiated machineries.
After the report of 6th CPC, Anomaly Committees have appointed both at the National and Departmental levels. Agreed decisions of the Departmental Anomaly Committee have been resting in cold storage of the Finance Ministry. National Anomaly Committee meetings were held on 12.12.2009, 27.03.2010, 15.02.2011, 05.012012 and 17.07.2012. Except a few cases, like annual increment, option for fixation of pay on promotion, no other issue could be resolved, causing serious frustration amongst the Railwaymen. The 6th Pay Commission has recommended for widening the promotional scope of different categories of staff through the process of Cadre Restructuring Committee. Cadre Restructuring Committee has been set up and meetings of the Cadre Restructuring Committee were held on 08.12.2009, 04.06.2010, 20.05.2011, 17.10.2011, 11.04.2012 and 22.02.2013. Decision on restructuring of most of the categories has been agreed upon in the meeting of the Cadre Restructuring Committee, but except orders for Asstt. Loco Pilot, no other order has yet been issued, causing serious resentment amongst the Railwaymen. Trackmen, Gatemen, Trolleymen, Keymen, Mate etc. are exploited a lot. After years long struggle of the AIRF, a Joint Committee for the purpose of addressing their grievances was appointed and the committee has submitted its unanimous recommendation to Ministry of Railways on 28th June, 2011. In utter dismay, it is seen that orders have been issued diluting the recommendations in respect of restructuring the cadre. AIRF had to register its strongest protest against this arbitrary action and had to observe “Black Week” throughout the country demanding implementation of the report in to to.
After 34 years long struggle, Bonus in the shape of Productivity Linked Bonus has been agreed upon and implemented. The ceiling limit of Rs.3500 is yet to be removed. Of late, there are attempts to change the formula unilaterally. Problems of the Running Staff, Operating Staff, Artisan Staff, Technical Supervisor, Ministerial Staff, Medical Staff, staff of the Stores Department and others are yet to be addressed. Condition of the Railway quarters, colonies has been deteriorating day-by-day. Due to non-maintenance, the staff are being compelled to stay in the quarters which are not habitable. When staff refused to take such inhabitable quarters, the payment of HRA is denied to them.
This meeting notes with anger that, no serious negotiation has started yet on the “Charter of Demands” formulated in the 88th Annual Conference of the AIRF, held in Visakhapatnam in December 2012.
The General Council Meeting of the AIRF took a stock of the whole situation and painfully decides to conduct Strike Ballot throughout the entire system of the Indian Railways on 20th and 21st December, 2013.
The General Council gives a clarion call to all the Railwaymen to unite under the banner of All India Railwaymen’s Federation(AIRF) and prepare for massive participation in the Strike Ballot.