Saturday, June 30, 2018

Circular 15-2018


15/1089-90, VASUNDHARA, VASUNDHARA (P.O.), Dt. GHAZIABAD (U.P), PIN-201012

Reference: AIA/Circular-15/2018                                                       Dated: 29th June  2018

To
Unit Secretaries,
Members & Spl. Invitees – NE &
Members of Women’s Committee


Dear Comrades,

NATIONAL CONVENTION CALLS FOR ONE DAY STRIKE ON 15TH NOVEMBER 2018

The National Convention of Central Govt Employees held at Hyderabad on 10th June 2018 under the banner of Confederation of Central Govt Employees and Workers was inaugurated by Dr. Sanjeeva Reddy, President, INTUC. Com. Amarjeet Kaur, General Secretary, AITUC in her hour long speech elaborated the policy initiative of the present day government and its impact on the working population and the people at large.

The Convention was also addressed by Com A Sreekumar, Secretary General, All India State Govt employees’ Federation. During his addressed Com A Sreekumar announced that the State Govt employees across the country would also go on one day strike on 15h November 2018.

The Convention adopted the declaration (copy enclosed) along with a series of phased agitational programmes culminating in a one day strike on 15th November 2018.

Programme of action adopted by the Convention is as given below:

I.      2018 July 1st to August 14th - State/District level conventions.

2.    2018 August 15th to 31st - Submission of memorandum to all MPs, MLAs, Chief Ministers etc. seeking their intervention for settlement of demands. (Draft copy of the memorandum will be exhibited in confederation website: www.confederationhq.blogspot.com after 31st July 2018)

3.     21st August 2018 – Tuesday - Mass dharna at all District headquarters.

4.     5th September 2018 – Wednesday - Mass rally at New Delhi

5.   10th October 2018 – Wednesday - Serving of strike notice at all levels with mass demonstrations.

6.     17th October 2018 – Wednesday - Raj Bhavan March at all State Headquarters or March to an important Central Govt. office situated in the state capital.

7.    3rd October to 10th November 2018 - State/District wise Compaign programme of National leaders of confederation and its affiliates. (separate circular will be issued mentioning places and name of leaders)

8.     2nd November 2018 – Friday - Mass Hunger Fast at all levels.

9.     15th November 2018 – Thursday - Nationwide one day strike

The 10 point Charter of Demands adopted by the Convention on the which the above campaigns and one strike would be organised are:

1.            Scrap New Contributory Pension Scheme. Restore old defined benefit Pension      Scheme to all employees.

2.            Settle 7th CPC related issues including increase in Minimum Pay and fitment         formula, HRA arrears from 01-01-2016, MACP Bench Mark, promotional        hierarchy and date of effect from 01-01-2006, Option-I for pensioners and            anomalies arising out of implementation of 7th CPC recommendations.

3.            Fill up all vacant posts. Reintroduce Regional Recruitment for Group B & C           posts. Withdraw orders for abolishing posts lying vacant for more than five        years. Revive all posts abolished during 2001 to 2008 under Annual Direct           Recruitment plan as per May 2001 orders of former NDA Government.

4.     (a)   Regularisation of Gramin Dak Sevaks and grant of Civil Servant status.  Implement remaining positive recommendations of Kamalesh Chandra committee report.
                        (b)   Regularise all casual and contract workers including those appointed on or               after 01-09-1993.

5.            Ensure equal pay for equal work for all. Remove disparity in pay scales between Central Secretariat Staff and similarly placed staff working in field units of             various departments.

6.      Stop closure of Govt. establishments and outsourcing. Withdraw closure orders of Govt. of India Presses. Stop proposed move to close down salt department.      Stop FDI and privatisation of Railways and Defence department.


            7.     Implement 7th CPC wage revision and pension revision of Autonomous body                         employees and pensioners; Grant Bonus to Autonomous body employees                     pending from 2016-17 onwards.

            8.          Remove 5% condition imposed on compassionate appointment.

            9.          Grant five time-bound promotions to all Group B&C employees. Complete                       Cadre Reviews in all departments within a time-frame.

            10.        (a)   Stop attack on trade union rights. Ensure prompt functioning of various                    negotiating forums under the JCM scheme at all levels.
                         (b)   Withdraw the draconian FR-56(j) and Rule 48 of CCS Pension Rules 1972.

All the Units are requested to start conducting intensive campaign amongst the membership on the issues such as NPS, contractorisation and privatisation as also on issues related to 7 CPC, especially the betrayal of the central government employees by the government.

All the Units may also take lead in galvanising the local COCs so as to ensure effective implementation of the above programmes culminating in one day strike on 15th November 2018.

With greetings,

Yours fraternally

Sd/ 
M. S. Raja
Secretary General

DECLARATION

1.       This convention declares that restoration of the Defined benefit pension scheme to all Central Government employees irrespective of the date of their entry into Government service is the paramount amongst all issues and demands of the Central Government employees included in the annexed charter of demands.  The struggle against the New contributory pension scheme introduced by the Government in 2004 must be incessant till the Government agrees to withdraw the same and restore the defined benefit pension scheme for all civil servants in the country.   The Contributory pension scheme was the product of the neo-liberal economic policies pursued by the successive Governments that came to rule since 1991.  It was conceived, formulated and imposed at the instance of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank combine to ensure free flow of funds to the Corporate entities to enable them to maximise profits. The Confederation of Central Government employees and workers and no doubt the All India State Government employees Federation realised right at the beginning its pernicious impact and demanded its withdrawal.  In the declaration that was adopted in the joint convention of the two organisations, it was clearly pointed out that the very purpose of the new scheme was not to arrest the financial outflow of the Government as has been made out both by the  Government and the IMF but only to help the corporate to access easy funds. Never had been such a naked attempt in the past on the part of any Government to compel the employees to subscribe to a fund whose benefits to the subscriber were not defined.
In the beginning, a section of intellectuals in the society, the rulers, a predominant segment of the people’s representatives, the top echelons of the bureaucracy; even some trade union leaders and their organisations eulogised the scheme projecting the never-existant benefits to mislead the workers and the public at large.  While presenting the proposal before the Parliament, the Government in fact misled the house to inform them over the benefits the Government might reap due to lesser financial outflow for meeting the pension entitlements of the Civil servants.  Initially it was a lone voice emanated from the joint platform of the Confederation of Central Govt. employees and the All India State Govt. employees Federation against this ill -conceived proposal of the Government of India- a lone voice for a right cause. Various programmes of actions were chalked out and carried out under the auspices of the joint platform of Confederation and AISGEF including a one day strike on 30th October, 2007.  However, the then UPA Government stuck to its position and introduced the PFRDA bill in the Parliament and ultimately they could get it legislated with the support of the BJP which was in opposition then. In the background of the well reasoned submissions  made by the Confederation and AISGEF the Government appointed Committees and Commissions to go into the matter, which had been loaded with self serving bureaucrats. Most of these commissions sang what the political masters wanted to hear except the one appointed by the 6th CPC.  Dr.Gayatri’s report was categorical that the Government will have to bear in fact additional financial burden for the next 35 to 40 years due to the introduction of the New Contributory pension scheme. The bureaucrats also began to realise the reality later.  The employees, nay all subscribers, to their dismay  found that the new  Pension system is in fact a No pension system.  The oft-repeated argument that it was necessary to arrest the accelerated financial outflow from the exchequer was established to be false in the face of Dr. Gayatri’s report. Crores of rupees from the State Treasury and the poor employees’ contributions went to enrich the corporate houses through the stock market and mutual funds.  The young comrades, who were recruited after 1.1.2004, who were compulsorily made to be the subscribers of the New Contributory Pension scheme found fault with not only Government but some of the leaders of the Trade Union movement of Central Govt. Employees.  In sum, this is the present scenario. What this convention declares is to fight against this new scheme – together or alone - It is an uncompromising war to ensure that the present contributory pension scheme is scrapped lock stock and barrel and the erstwhile defined benefit pension scheme is brought back to cover all Government employees.
2.       The wage revision of Central Government employees is periodically effected through the system of setting up of Pay Commissions.  The 7th Central Pay Commission came into existence after the Confederation conducted a series of programme of action culminating in a one day strike on 12thDecember, 2012 and two days strike on 13th and 14th February, 2014.  The recommendations of the Commission was so disappointing that all organisations participating in the JCM came together to form a National Joint Count of Action to spearhead agitations.  The NJCA decided to go on indefinite strike from 11th July, 2016 onwards.  What which irked the employees was the way in which the Commission went ahead with doctoring the formula for fixation of the Minimum wage and consequent fitment proposition.  While the proposed strike action was gathering momentum, the Government opened its doors for negotiations.  To facilitate a negotiated settlement, the NJCA accepted the proposal of the Government to set up a Committee to go into the matter of Minimum wage and fitment formula and revise the same within the course of four months.  However, as is the case with this Government, they refused to honour the commitment which they made on 30th June, 2016, when the heat of the struggle got dissipated.  The Govt. has now gone on record through a written answer to a question raised in the Parliament to state that the revision of minimum wage and fitment formula was no more in their agenda for consideration.
There had been wide and varied criticism over the decision taken by the NJCA leaders to defer the strike action scheduled to take place from 11.7.2016 onwards on the basis of the “unmeant” assurance held out by the Government.  Many of the allegations levelled emanated from the trust deficit, the employees and pensioners had over the political authority of the Government, the BJP. The surprisingly strident criticism was due to the widely prevalent perception of the political players at the helm of affairs of the country.  They could not have been possibly faulted, for chicanery  had been employed on quite a number of occasions earlier by the ruling party.  It was not that the NJCA leadership was unaware of the character and characteristics of those in governance but they had to be driven by the mass front compulsions.  The present ruling coalition was fully aware of the ground reality that was prevalent among the mass of the middle class employees and tactically decided to defer decision on the vital demands of the CGES to create an illusion amongst the common workers.   They had been able to sustain that illusion, mainly because of the in-cohesiveness amongst the various organizations of the CGEs and the sheer unwillingness on the part of a few to tread the struggle path.
Now that the reality is revealed, the moot point is what must be the response. The common multitude of the employees irrespective of the organizational allegiance wants the issue to be confronted.  In the absence of any preparation for a tangible response, there is every possibility of the matter facing a natural death The Government  with their fine propaganda machinery has been so far successful to create an impression that civil servants of the country are better placed in terms of salary and allowances and the Government had done well in accepting and implementing the suggestions of the 7th CPC.  The employees’ organizations have not been able to successfully combat or counter this palpably misguiding or mal-propaganda based on untruth.

Having failed to get the support of the dominant organisations in the NJCA, the Confederation, true to its ideology, called upon its members to organise a series of  programmes including Parliament March, Mass dharna in front of Finance Minister’s office, human chain at all centres, burning of HRA orders, Mass dharna at district and state levels culminating in a one day strike.  The strike that took place on 16.03.2017 elicited the unprecedented response of the largest number of its members.  The propaganda unleashed against the confederation, especially by those who chose to keep silence over the dilly dallying tactics of the Government was that the Confederation was acting upon mere perception  as the Government has never stated that it would not honour its commitment.   The present unambiguous statement laid on the table of the Parliament by the Government in the matter makes the chicanery officially confirmed. Those who prefer to choose silence even now must understand that their silence will only strength the cloud of doubt that arose on 30th June, 2016.
 What more excuses will come to the rescue of those organisations is difficult to fathom.
The Convention expresses the firm view that the employees must react in a very serious manner to the despicable machinations of the Government.
3.       The rate of unemployment in the country has been on the increase ever since the new economic policies were sought to be implemented.  Not only no new industry could be established, the maximization of profit mantra sapped all regular employment opportunities in organized sector.  A sizeable segment of the jobs in the organized sector was in formalised.  The regular workers were replaced by contract labour.  In some of the industries, the entire enterprise was contracted out, the management retaining a very few supervisory or managerial positions.  Presently in all big industrial undertakings in the country, majority of the workforce are either contract workers or workers engaged on daily rated basis.  The Government not only encouraged the anti-labour practices but also adopted the same policy in the fully owned public Sector undertakings as also in the Government Departments.  There had been very little job opportunities created during the last two and half decades except in the Service Sector.  Whatever job opportunities were created in the so called special economic zones, the denial of trade union rights to the workers ensured that they were no better than contract workers.  Governmental Sector witnessed the return of casual and daily rated workers , a system which was in vogue in the early 50s but was forced out through constant trade union struggles. The VI-CPC had recommended the abolition of Gr. D. posts numbering about 9.4 lakhs.  In Para 3.7.7 the commission has observed that:
"Increasingly basic work relating to cleaning, sweeping, maintenance etc. is being outsourced. This is a welcome trend that needs to be encouraged by bringing about systematic changing in the existing scheme so that the employees in Govt. are only utilized for requiring a certain levels of skills".
Majority of the functions presently carried out by the Gr. D. employees across the board is unskilled.  What had actually been done by the Commission is to abolish the unskilled functions in the Governmental sector to pave way for more and more contractorisation of these jobs while the existing employees (whose working strength has become less than 50% of the sanctioned strength) might be classified as Gr. C. and assigned to do functions which are of skilled nature with lesser emoluments than what it could have been even as per the V-CPC recommendations.  In the days to come the unskilled nature of jobs would be either outsourced or would be contractorised.  Recruitment will hereafter become unavailable in the Governmental sector for those who are in the lower strata of the society who could not afford or who are not provided even the primary education even though the universal primary education is stated to be the objective and goal of a welfare Government.  In fact they are being punished as the Government abdicated its responsibility to provide them the nascent requirement of primary education.  The recommendation is therefore, a by-product of the neo-liberal economic policies which we have been fighting against all these years.     As has been feared, the Government has now decided to ensure that all unskilled jobs are to be contractorised.  The guidelines issued by the Department of Personnel for the Mutlti-tasking staff makes it mandatory that the future recruitees in government service must have a minimum educational qualification of matriculation.  The recruitment will be done through the Staff Selection Commission.  These personnel may not be deployed for the unskilled jobs like sweeper, farash, Mali, watchmen etc.  The Department of Personnel has already advised all concerned to go in for contractorisation of these functions. The workers so recruited by the contractors are not to have any job security as they will be liable for termination without assigning any reason whatsoever. As per the information now made available at the floor of the Parliament, the number of contract workers engaged by various public sector undertaking and Governmental organisations is 21,12 715.
In the background of the continuing ban on recruitment, many of the Government organizations have resorted to outsourcing of their functions which are of permanent and perennial nature to agencies on fixed rates.  The very fact that the Government has made available funds for the Departmental heads to resort to outsourcing establishes the intention of the Government.  The functions being carried out by the Group C employees and the Group B Non gazetted officials are liable to be outsourced.  Once the outsourcing becomes hassle free, there will be no likelihood of any fresh creation of posts in these cadres.  The large scale computerization has helped the outsourcing as a feasible proposition.

The Government has now issued instructions to abolish all posts which were lying vacant for the past five years. Innumerable number of posts, in fact about 50% of the sanctioned strength, are lying vacant for the simple reason that the recruiting agency had not been able to provide the requisite number of qualified/eligible candidates.  This again was a predetermined design. In a very short period of time, the recruitment to Group C cadres and Group B cadres would be halted.  Since there is no recruitment possible for Group B Managerial posts, most of the Departments will be left with officers recruited through the civil service examination and a few employees hired on contract basis.
4.       Another important issue is the atrocious decision taken by the Government in the matter of pension revision, which has affected adversely lakhs of Central Government Pensioners.  In the memorandum, the contours of which were finalized in a convention held at Chennai where the representative of almost all pensioners’ organization took part, the point that was stressed with utmost importance was the need to bring about parity in pension entitlements between the past and present pensioners. During the oral evidence presented before the 7th Central Pay Commission, to whom the memorandum had been submitted, the question of parity was thoroughly deliberated.  Though the representatives of the Pensioners Associations and Federations did not make any concrete suggestion as to the methodology to remove the existing disparity in the pension entitlements, they no doubt presented the reasons and causes for such disparity. Taking into serious consideration of the submissions of the Pensioners Associations/Federations and more so what was submitted by the Staff Side of the JCM, the Commission realizing the enormity of injustice being meted out to the senior pensioners, made a suggestion which is now commonly known as the Option No. 1. The Commission recommended to the Government two methodologies to be employed as pension revision formula, option of which is left to the individual pensioner.  He or she was entitled to choose either of the option depending upon the financial benefit.  The whole pensioner community considered this recommendation of the 7th CPC as the best way of resolving the issue and bring about parity between the past and present pensioners.  There had been all-round criticism of the overall recommendations of the 7th CPC from the employees but every single individual employee or organization appreciated the formulation made by the Commission in respect of Pensioners.
However, at the instance of the Pension Department, the Government while accepting this recommendation made a subjective clause.  The acceptance of the recommendation was subjected to the feasibility of implementation for which the Government constituted a committee under the Chairmanship of the Secretary Pension.  As it is natural, the Committee headed by the Pension Secretary found the recommendation “infeasible” for the simple reason that in a few cases, the relevant records would not be available with the Government.  The Service records of an employee or pensioner is supposed to be maintained by the Government.  How can the individual pensioner be punished for the mere fault of a Government department was the question the pensioners and staff side raised before the Committee, which went unanswered.  The Committee suggested another methodology as the pension fitment formula.   The Pensioners representatives and the Staff Side of the JCM had no objection to the said formula for that was to benefit some of the pensioners, including the top echelons of the bureaucracy.   However, they requested that the Committee’s suggestion might be treated as the third option to be applied whoever wants it or in whichever case the records are not available.  The suggestion made by the staff side was rejected as also the Option No.1.  It was pointed out that rejection of a claim on the specious ground that the records are not available with the Government is legally untenable.   In all such cases, the Government does have the option to obtain a solemn affidavit from the claimant, a practice followed by the Governments throughout the world. The irony is that such decision was taken by the Government whose Finance Minister is a legal luminary.    What is established without an iota of ambiguity is the Government’s overdependence on the self-seeking bureaucrats, who had an axe to grind in rejecting Option No. 1 and the utter insensitivity of the political authority towards the concern of the common people even if they are senior citizens.
5.       Wage revision of Grameen Dak Sewaks is a classic example of this Government’s attitude towards workers, especially those in the lower rung of the hierarchy .Grameen Dak Sewaks, formerly known as the Extra Departmental Agents is the innovative exploitative system evolved by the British Colonial rulers to spread the postal communication to rural India. Appointed as agents who were authorised to use the Postal seal as a mark of official status were entitled either for a commission or a honorarium.  The Government that came into existence in free India found the system convenient and cheap and decided to continue.  Through incessant struggles, the Postal workers tried to end this unsavoury system of employment and they had been quite successful in raising their status and emoluments.  Through a series of struggles organised mostly under the leadership of the National Federation of Post and Telecom Employees and later under the banner of the National Federation of Postal Employees, the Gramin Dak Sewaks marched ahead.  The very word Grameen Dak Sewaks was in recognition of the demand that the British system must come to an end.  Despite near total unanimity over the need to end this system once and for all across the political system, none has dared so far to raise them on par with the organised segment of the working class.  They are still considered as casual workers having no benefit of the regular postal employees and are denied the retirement benefits. It was the Talwar Committee which really went into the hopeless living and working conditions of the GDS and made recommendations which if accepted would have changed the scenario.  Many of their recommendations, which were meant to raise the standard of living of the employees, were not acted upon at all.   In the wake of the setting up of the 7th CPC, the Confederation of CGE and workers demanded the Commission to treat the GDS on par with the regular Government Servants.  The Commission Chairman, Shri Ashok Mathur, a retired Supreme Court Judge however, did not agree. Had he been able to take a decision on this vital question of their status their case for wage revision could have been covered by the 7th CPC itself. The Government then appointed the Kamalesh Chandra Committee to look into their issues and demands. Retired as a postal bureaucrat, Shri Kamalesh Chandra was fully aware of the exploitative system. No doubt many of the recommendations of Kamalesh Chandra Committee was in favour of the GDS employees and if accepted will improve the service conditions.  The Committee did not address the issue of status under the garb that the same was under the judicial scrutiny. The report was in the consideration of the Government for the past 18 months.
The indefinite strike action of all GDS Unions which commenced on 22nd May, 2018 asking the Government to take a final decision on the recommendation of the Kamalesh  Chandra Committee with the full support and even participation of the regular Postal employees, elicited solidarity action from all sections of the working class in the country, especially from the Central Govt. Employees.  The Government dragged the strike for 16 glorious days.  Despite their best efforts, the Government or the Postal Department could not break the unity of the Unions and Associations of the GDS employees throughout the long 16 days strike period. The arrogance on the part of the political authority was the one and only reason  that the matter was allowed to be delayed for more than 18 months.  The glorious strike of the GDS Employees which went on 16 days has the total participation of the GDS employees and the Government thoroughly failed in all their attempts to break that solid unity.  Ultimately the Government has to come down and approve the major recommendations regarding wage rise of the GDS. The GDS Unions deserve the accolade from all for organising such a great strike action.
6.       The attached charter of demands includes many other issues which are pending settlement for many years.  They include inter alia, the removal of the ceiling on compassionate appointments; regularisation of casual, contract and daily rated workers, filling up of vacant posts; equal pay for equal work; rescinding the decision to close down the Printing presses; five promotions in the service career; recognition of Unions/federations; regular functioning of the JCM; removal of the provisions of Rule 56.J; grant of wage /pension revision benefits to employees of autonomous bodies etc. etc.
The Convention declares that the employees who are members of the organisations affiliated to the Confederation will embark upon a series of programmes of action detailed hereunder culminating in a one day strike action on 15th November, 2018, on which date, the All India State Government employees will also be on a day’s strike in pursuance of their charter of demands.  As it is the desire of  the participants of this Convention that the strike action must have the largest possible participation of the workers in the country, the National  Secretariat of the Confederation is directed to take steps to synchronise the date of action with similar action organised by the Unions/Federations under the auspices of the Central Trade Unions.
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