Friday, April 22, 2016

Let's Join NFPE

Bruhaspati Samal 
Divisional Secretary
AIPEU, Group-C, Bhubaneswar

Recollecting the glorious journey of the Department of Posts from traditional to digital along with the historic Postal / Central Govt. employees Trade Union Movement through National Federation of Post & Telecom Employees (NFPTE) alias National Federation of Postal Employees (NFPE) which enters the 62nd year of its existence, we would like to bring some important facts to the notice of all new entrants to the Department of Posts especially those who have not yet enrolled themselves as bonafide members of NFPE.  

Why NFPE is so important ? Why should one join NFPE ? 
The answer is very simple.

During our long strenuous journey, we have not only experienced the Divide and Rule Policy of the British Government but also the administrative dilemma and miseries of Postal workers in particular and Central Govt. employees in general even during post-independent era without minimum wage, holidays, fixed duty hours, recreation, promotion, bonus, advances, overtime allowance, retirement benefits etc., The employees were badly treated, severally punished and personally abused. Corruption was rampant. The service of the employees was hopelessly insecure.  

In such a critical juncture,   Babu Tarapad Mukherjee   joined in the Department as a clerk in Bowbazar TSO on 1st February, 1895 and initiated the P & T Trade Union Movement in the name of a Postal Club in Kolkatta GPO with support of 150 employees only during 1905 which grew and grew and after 50 years of uncompromised struggles and sacrifices latter became recognized as National Federation of Post and Telegraph Employees on 24thNovember, 1954 under the leadership of Com. B N Ghosh, popularly known as Dada Ghosh who became the founder Secretary General of NFPTE. 

Till it was bifurcated in February, 1986 to National Federation of Postal Employees (NFPE) and National Federation of Telecom Employees (NFTE) consequent upon separation of the Department to Department of Posts and Department of Telecommunications, NFPTE continued its struggle  to give its members the benefits they deserve in spite of formation of Federation of National Postal Organizations (FNPO) in 1968 and Bhartiya Post and Telegraph Employees Federation (BPTEF) in 1977 by the ruling party to weaken the movements reiterating the so called Divide and Rule Policy of the British Govt. In spite of hurdles and attacks by the Govt., NFPE has never looked back and is continuing its struggles as the biggest constituent of Confederation of Central Govt. employees and Workers not only to protect the interest of the postal and RMS employees in particular but also to give justice to the entire working class in general.  

It is needless to reiterate that the benefits now we are enjoining as Central Govt. Employees are the gifts of the sacrifices of the leaders and loyal workers of NFPTE (NFPE) / Confederation who have fought bravely without caring for brutal murders, mass scale arrests, termination, suspension and above all de-recognition of our Federation by the administration/Govt. The story of success and sacrifice of NFPTE (NFPE) / Confederation is too long to describe. 

NFPE’s struggle movements in particular are not just confined to pay or leave etc. In the name of transformation of India Post, the problems of the postal employees have been multiplied during the last two decades. With formulation of National Postal Policy, Strategic Plan, Corporate Plan and introduction of Project Arrow and I T Modernization Project, the employees are now treated in similar nature prevailed during pre-independence era. With acute shortage of staff due to arbitrary abolition of posts, increased working hours due to down-sizing, additional pressure due unachievable targets for POSB, PLI/RPLI and business products, frequent system problems due to improper software, inadequate professionals and outdated accessories, compulsion of cent percent delivery in the absence of adequate staff and support system, introduction of new products and services without proper education and training to the employees and such other problems arising out of computerization and modernization, the employees are suffering like anything. In addition, corporatization / privatization of India Post through implementation of Task Force report is still a peril like the sword of Damocles. Over Time duty has already lost its concept due to non-revision of the allowance for more than two decades. Contradictorily, the promotional avenues in postal department have been twisted to be confused. The cadre restructuring proposal has been unnecessarily delayed for last five years. The fates of 3 lakh Gramin Dak Sewaks have remained unpredictable for decades together. Thus, we are still demanding to fill up all vacant posts, creation of new posts, to stop corporatization / privatization / down-sizing, to give five promotions, to give status and pension to GDS etc. The struggles have not yet ended.  

In addition, due to rapid migration of Post Office to CBS Finacle and PLI McCamish in the absence of proper infrastructure, the sufferings of the employees of Department of Posts beggar description. The nature of fixed duty hours has now lost its concept. The employees are receiving irregular orders always not to leave office without permission of the CPC/CEPT. The employees are regularly struggling for smooth connectivity, proper hardware and adequate manpower to render proper services to the customers. But all their efforts have fallen to the deaf ears of the administration. Responsibility is seen to be shifted from Department to Infosys, from Infosys to Sify or sometimes from both to the Central Server / Data Centre etc. Due to no fault of the officials, they are falling prey to the anger of the dissatisfied customers. The issues have been seriously discussed and the Hon’ble Union Minister, Communications and IT have been addressed in this regard by NFPE. 

Adding salt to injury, the 7th CPC submitted its report with most disappointing, retrograde and worst ever recommendations to the Govt. on 19th November, 2015 restricting the pay hike to 14.29% without any change in the annual increment and promotional avenues even after a gap of 10 years and more importantly withdrawing all the 12 interest-free advances and 52 allowances and thus deceiving as many as 47 lakh Central Govt. employees and 52 lakh pensioners. The demands of the JCM Staff Side to implement the recommendations from 01.01.2014, to fix the minimum wage at Rs.26000/- with multiplying factor of 3.27, annual increment to 5%, 5 promotion during the entire service career, abolition of Grade Pay etc have been squarely rejected by the Commission. No change has been recommended for Casual Leave, Maternity Leave and Leave encashment. Rather, the Commission has recommended to reduce the HRA from 30/20/10% to 24/16/8% and 20% less pay in the 2nd year of Child Care Leave. Relating to our specific issues, the commission finds no justification for enhancement of minimum educational qualifications for Direct Recruits for Postal Assistants/Sorting Assistants from Class XII to Graduation and the entry grade pay from GP 2400 to GP 2800 and also no justification for upgrading LSG, HSG-II& HSG-I. Similar is the case of Postman, Mail Guard and MTS. The demand for separate cadre for S As / B Es has been denied straightway. The issues relating to GDS remained untouched.
In protest against such retrograde measures of 7th CPC, NFPE has already hold protest demonstrations throughout the country and JCM Staff Side has already submitted a notice to the Cabinet Secretary with suggested modifications. If our demands are not settled amicably through proper negotiation, the National Joint Council of Action comprising Confederation, Railway and Defence Federation has already decided to go for nationwide indefinite strike from 11th July, 2016.   

Thus, the revolution has just begun which needs the effort of every single individual for retaining the hard-earned benefits we have achieved through our struggle movements. Human revolution, in just a single individual can help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and further in the destiny of all human kind. So unfettered by narrow nationalist or sectarian concerns, it should be considered that every individual is equally empowered with inner brilliance of life and however small the effort, every individual effort certainly makes a definite difference. The thing is that everyone should be loyal to the voice of conscience that issues forth from deep within. When one is affected by wrath, his mind will not be correct, when one is affected by fear, his mind will not be correct, when one is affected by fondness, his mind will not be correct or when one is affected by worries and anxieties to any extent, his mind will not be correct. When the mind is not present, we look but we do not see, listen but we do not hear and eat but do not know the taste of the food. As a result, we fail to serve whole-heartedly. No progress is possible unless we have a mind free from anxiety and sufficient leisure for the development of our higher nature.  

Workers are not beggars. So, to make ourselves free from all worries and anxieties, to live with a status and to serve our nation whole heartedly on one hand and to retain the hard-earned benefits already achieved through rigorous struggles and sacrifices on the other, we have to go for united struggle only under one umbrella in the name of National Federation of Postal Employees.   To be more active and more progressive, let’s promise to strengthen the hands of NFPE which has remained  always  more militant and aggressive on our issues. 

Together we can move the world. One, who can’t be taught by reason, shall be taught by force. And our force is our togetherness and unity. We have already proved it through our several rigorous struggle programmes from pre-independence era till date. We have fought and achieved. The glorious history of P & T Trade Union Movement tells us that nothing can stop us.  We can achieve all our demands through our unity and agitation, through one platform and one voice. We have just to carry forward the glorious traditions of NFPE with additions of new ideas that will suit our future needs.  A recall to NFPE’s historic struggles in the past will definitely add to our future success. 

            So Comrades, NFPE is NFPE which is continuously struggling for problems of entire working class in general and postal employees in particular in addition to fighting for common causes and welfare of the society. It is the largest.  

It is the oldest. You can’t compare it with any other organization.  

Now the annual membership collection is going on which will be completed by 30thApril, 2016. On behalf of National Federation of Postal Employees, we take this opportunity to appeal all the new entrants to the Department who have not yet enrolled themselves as bonafide members of NFPE and are being confused to submit the authorization letter and to those who have been misguided and joined in such other organizations which have been created with a definite intention to weaken our Postal Trade Union movement only,  to think for a while for the organization only and not for any individual with clear understanding of the truth and choose the right organization which can save and protect their interests. There should be no second thought while we are joining National Federation of Postal Employees which is the only Federation in the Department continuously fighting for giving justice to the staff members since pre-independence era till date. 

Only 10 days left. Let’s hurry to join NFPE and strengthen it for our benefit.  

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