General Secretary’s Desk
This is a work paper relating to proposed Indefinite strike from 17.1.2012
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU AND YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS
Not often - but inevitable
The JCA has issued a Clarian call for indefinite strike from 17.1.2012 demanding to stop the implementation of Mail Network Optimization Project and settlement of assured charter of demands placed during July 2011 strike. You may think why this call has been given again within a short span of six months. This may perhaps, be due to the sufferings you are experiencing at field levels in organizing the members for strikes very often.
The Postal JCA deferred the indefinite strike in July 2011 with the hope that the commitments given by the Secretary, Department of Posts herself and also recorded everything in the minutes will be honoured in true spirit. But what happened? Except few, many major items are under still cold storage. In the meantime, the Department declared that it is going to implement the L1 & L2 proposals in to unilaterally in the staff side meeting. What is option available then for the JCA except to launch struggles against this move? We are optimistic about our organizational strength that struggle programmes are not new to the Postal employees as they had the history of conducting various strikes including many one days in the C. G. Employees movement after 1968 and also having the spirit for spontaneous action, alertness, awareness and preparedness available in abundant for any action including local struggles against injustice in the grass root level leaders.
Consultancy or conspiracy!
Why we are objecting the L1 & L2 scheme? First let us clear that we are not against any modernization. But modernization shall not pave way to dislocate staff and cause impair to the service. The proposal of L1 & L2 is not fully related to modernization also. The Postal department, earlier appointed a foreign consultancy called KPMG by incurring crores of rupees as consultancy charges and we don’t know the fate of its recommendations and report.
Recently, the Department appointed Mckinsey as consultancy service. Whether the Mckinsey consultancy is the lowest bidder! Not at all! It is jus 12.66 crores of rupees. With exorbitant charges, it was appointed as consultancy service. What is the need to make it as consultancy service for such exorbitant rates? No one knows what is behind the curtain.
Notorious for privatization of Government Services
If you go through industry insight of Mckinsey, you can find the following: -
“Postal Express and Parcel Services”
“In addition to new technologies and systems, globalization, deregulation and privatization have been the key drivers of change in the post and express world over the past two decades; Numerous Postal companies have successfully navigated the path of privatization from state monopolies to become listed companies. We support our clients as they position themselves to meet regulatory requirements and accompany them on the road to successful privatization.”
Not magic figure/only arithmetic without survey
No ex-aggregation. The above are taken only from their website. The Department has taken Mckensey not only for offering suggestions but also of its implementation. The members of McKensey have behaved more than that of the Chief PMGs in many places resulting with sporadic struggles in AP, Karnataka &Tamilnadu circles. There after they were restrained. The Department first issued orders for closure of 9797 (magic figure) post offices in urban areas. This is not the figure arrived by collecting statistics on the basis of financial viability or work load justification. Just it was based on the mathematical calculations as per the suggestions of the consultancy service.
Deviating from social obligation
The Department introduced ‘Speed Post hub’ and centralized the speed post traffic. There was a hue and cry in case of intra circle mails. High court of Himachal even criticized badly on this centralization. But the officers at the helms of affairs stated that these intra circle mails are negligible mails and we are concerned only for business. Really surprising! Whether the postal service is deviating from the path of social service? Even though it was agreed to open intra circle speed post centers, the Chief PMG/PMGs are reluctant to implement the orders of the Directorate.
Whether Chief PMG or above DG?
The Chief PMG, Maharashtra Circle has constituted an internal committee for making recommendations on ‘how to reduce the deficit”. The committee recommended for immediate down gradation of 39 single handed post offices as BOs and down grade 549 single handed offices available in rural areas as branch post offices. The remaining 349 offices in urban, 117 post offices shall be merged immediately with the nearby offices and the remaining offices will be downgraded/merged after exercising the establishment review.
The Secretary, Department of Posts in the recorded minutes issued on 6.7.2011 assured interalia: -
“Regarding closure/merger of post offices, the staff side requested that whenever there is a closure of a PO, there should be simultaneous relocation of PO in the new emerging areas etc. The view point of the staff side was agreed to.”
Is agreement absurd?
Then how can be this contradiction? Whether the Directorate instructions,as stated on 27.12.2011, circulated during August 2011 not exhibited the same spirit of the minutes? If so what is the action proposed to be taken against the Chief PMG Maharashtra circle who proposed to close down all the 898 single handed post offices in his circle unilaterally as if poses himself higher than the Secretary?
Really no teeth or enactment of Drama!
The same Chief PMG has closed down two sorting offices resulting in 10 days strike of RMS employees of Maharashtra Circle during November 2011. Despite the Department advised him not to close down those offices, he did not care and refused to budge. The Directorate in the recorded minutes assured that there will be no victimization, FR 17 (a) etc.; whereas charge sheets, memo for issue of FR 17 (a) and all repressive measures have been unleashed.
If the Directorate has no teeth to control such lower officers, then what is the need of Apex level office and discussions and agreements with unions? If no, is it the drama enacted to befool the unions? If the same epidemic spreads to other circles what will be the position? Will it not be nip in the bud itself?
Very firm to deteriorate the services!
Member (operation) has almost declared on 27.12.2011 in the talks that he will implement the L1 & L2 despite our protest and will review after some years. How can we allow the L1 & L2 in RMS which will hamper the efficiency of Postal services and lead the extinction of RMS.?
The Staff side raised many apprehensions about the quality of mails processing which have not been kept for creating L1 & L2 and also the projects lack of the following three parameters.
i) It is not beneficial to customers.
ii) Operative cost will be more, compared to earlier.
iii) Lead to dislocation of staff and leading to ultimate closure of L2 offices.
The Staff also explained in its letter dt 07.12.2011 about the impracticability in introduction of L1 & L2 in many places. The proposal is nothing but to centralize the sorting work at one place and accumulate the staff to that place and later to introduce the Automatic sorting machines for sorting work.
AMPCs – nothing but white elephants
Now let us discuss about the AMPC functioning at Mumbai & Chennai. Both are while elephants and causing loss in crores to the department every year. The following is the version of the Chief PMG, Maharashtra circle and not of the JCA/us.
“At present, a sum of Rs. 72,84, 864 is being spent annually for maintenance and electricity charges of the AMPC machine. Besides this, a sum of Rs. 10892064 is being incurred as establishment cost. There would be a saving to the tune of Rs. 1,81,76,928/- per annum, if AMPC unit is merged with, APSO, Mumbai.”
When the department desires to introduce two more AMPCs at Delhi, Kolkata and later on at all L1 offices, the above is the statement of an officer about the loss incurred due to AMPCs. In Chennai, the AMPC is not at all functioning and it is under condemned conditionsand the mails received at Chennai Central/Egmore are back routed to AMPC (20 kms. away) just to show some statistics and bringing back to same Central/Egmore for transmission instead of sorting there itself.
Whimsical introductions – resulting loss
Already experienced AMPCs become white elephants and causing losses to the exchequer of the department, how can we allow introducing machines in all stations. Let them first prove that the machines provided earlier are worthy and purposeful. We should also remind how the officers in Postal are working out new schemes without minding the loss.
(i) There is no consultation in the board and everything based on the desirability of the individuals who are holding position and there are more sycophants.
(ii) The introduction of air freighter carrier caused loss to the tune of 300 crores. Not only that, back routing of mails to provide sufficient loads led to irreparable damage to the department due to delay in delivery. Finally it was dropped. It is pertinent to mention that the same lower level officers who were responsible for the 300 crores loss are now advocating the L1 & L2 vigorously.
(iii) For Videshi MO, the soft purchased exceeded crores. What is the revenue? As learnt, so far, 39 MOs to the revenue around Rs. 4000/- which cannot be equated to the extent of 1% with the expenditure for launching the scheme.
(iv) Introduction of VSAT was a great failure.
(v) Loss incurring in BNPL articles due to return article & non realization of revenue etc.
Chootu kool – the tip of the ice burg
We can cite many business activities which resulted in financial loss. For instance, in Maharashtra Circle Chotukool of Godrej was marketed for higher cost than the MRP (MRP 3740/- but in Godrej Website it is Rs. 3250/-) and out of 7169 sold, 5654 were sold to GDS; 857 were to Departmental employees & only 658 were sold to Public. Is it real marketing to deceive& cheat the lowest paid GDS Agents by offering loan with interest from societies? The Chotukool loads were carried through MMS vans for which the department has been served with notice by the revenue authorities. All the marketing targets lead to exploitation of employees. Can anyone deny this bare factor?
Compromise – not possible
Under these circumstances, where is the guarantee that the formation of L1 &L2 will enhance the quality of service. It will deteriorate further. The staff will be dislocated and the service will be hampered. The staff side could not compromise these aspects and that is the main reason for reviving the deferred strike with a short period of notice.
Determined negative position against GDS
Let us discuss the other issues we notified in the strike charter. The following are the assurances given in respect of the most exploited GDS cadres.
(i) Cash handling points for BPM for fixation of TRCA will be reduced to 10,000/- from 20000/- within a week.
(ii) Fresh proposal will be sent to MOF for revision of bonus ceiling on GDS.
(iii) Protection of TRCA will be provided in the same stage in case of reduction of work.
But what happened? The internal finance in the Directorate has simply turned down the files and the assurances were gone to wind. We again discussed the same with Member (P) on 27.12.2011 for which she replied that she cannot give any assurances in these issues. Discussing the same issues again and again and taking different positions by the officers in each time frustrates us.
No relief to bereaved family – they are GDS
The department has issued orders for fixing norms for compassionate appointment for GDS in which 25 points have been allotted for Graduation for consideration. Is it having any sense? Whether the wards in distress in rural areas could be expected to complete graduation when the minimum qualification in fixed as matriculation for GDS appointment. For GDS appointment under compassionate grounds 50% marks is compulsory; resulting in many wards could not get their fair chance. The earlier orders to provide job immediately after the demise of the GDS as a social obligation to the bereaved family by relaxing the condition are brushed aside and the benefits extended earlier to the family of the deceased poor GDS are restricted or deviated.
Half century old provision for GDS freezed in to
In respect of Postmen Recruitment Rules, 25% has been allotted to direct recruitment from open market. It was 100% over 50 years and this has been freezed due to personal ego of some officers who don’t want to see the plight of poor GDS possessing more skills & qualifications.
The 25% recruitment among the GDS on seniority basis has been thrown down. This was assured to consider by the Secretary herself during the meeting held in July 2011. Now Member (P) on 27.12.2011 is stating that is not possible since the department desires to inject direct recruits from open market. Till date, we are saying the postmen recruitment as direct recruitment quota only and not as promotion to GDS. The assurances to provide norms for NREGIS work has not been compiled with so far.
Everything depends on moods and tastes?
From the above, it could be evident that all the assurances made during July 2011 in writing in respect of the most downtrodden GDS have taken back by subsequent officers. Thus anything is not certain and depends upon the mood and taste of the officers who are at helm of affairs at present.
Denial of dues & Deprivation to casual labourers – only in Postal
It was recorded in the minutes dt. 06.07.2011 that for the casual labourers engaged prior to 1993, it was agreed to settle their case for payment on prorate basis within one month and post 1.9.93 cases will be taken up with MOF for settlement. Whether it is honoured? Not at all! A committee has been constituted and now it is told that after the receipt of the report, it will be considered. The Staff side is not consulted or provided a chance to represent in such committees. It is only the Postal department that the prorate wages as per sixth CPC has not been extended to casual labourers and contingent employees. The assurances to appoint the contingent workers as GDS and also to provide chances for their absorption in GDS vacancies have not been implement so far.
OTA or pittance for extra work
In all other Central Government department, the OTA rates have been revised with new nomenclature. Railways revised the rates. Defence enhanced the rates. The remaining only operative section, the postal Department has not taken any efforts either to revise the rates or formulate new methods for compensation in lieu of OTA. It is most unfortunate that meager OTA ordered earlier are being recovered by applying the ceiling. In Haryana circle, one RMS Supdt has issued FR 17(A) notice for non-performance of OTA. Where are such provisions? Absurd. The department is not carrying out with any concrete decision to arrest such menace even in the meeting held on 27.12.2011.
JCM – Conciliation to avoid confrontation – But here confrontation seeking conciliation
As per the JCM Schemes, meeting should be held once in three months but not later than six months and periodical meetings should be held separately with each union once in four months. But there is no meeting regularly held. Over six years, no periodical meeting is held. Only one departmental council meeting was held in August 2010. Even the assurances given in the meeting are not being implemented. The following are the few examples: -
(i) Counting of special allowance for pay fixation in case of PO & RMS Accountants – Despite the Law ministry has given opinion that it is not a fit case for filing SLP against Karnataka High court decisions and also our repeated requests, the Department is seeking the opinion of circle heads. The file is still under consideration.
(ii) Discontinuing the practice of obtaining fidelity/security bond from employees handling cash& also SPMs – Despite 5th CPC has recommended for this, the same is pending years together. The officials are unnecessarily paying premium to credit societies every year a huge amount towards premium for renewing fidelity band.
(iii) Protection of pay of defunct scale of PO &RMS Accountants – we are demanding the application of Directorate order No. 2-2/88-PE-I dt. 1.12.1992 issued in favour of Sri. Natha Singh in Punjab Circle for the similarly situated persons. But no decision has been taken yet on this issue.
(iv) Arbitrary and forcible allotment of Quarters in Rajasthan Circle.
(v) Non supply of statement of balance to the official brought under New Pension Scheme 2004.
(vi) Non grant of special allowance to unqualified Accountants.
(vii) Enhancement of financial powers of HSG I, HSG II & LSG Postmasters.
(viii) Recovery of alleged over payment of Pay & Allowances to Postman on account of fixation from the officials working in Accounts branch.
(ix) Tenure posting of officials in single & double handed post offices & remove the restriction posting of SPM due to minor penalties/CR entries.
(x) Enhancement of honorarium for engaging officials in departmental examinations.
(xi) Allowing to appear the physically handicapped officials for IPO exam.
(xii) Transfer of all HSG I posts to General line.
(xiii) Revision of cash Allowance to the SPMs handling cash in the absence of Treasurer & grant of Treasury allowances to all posts irrespective of their position after the grant of MACP promotions.
Most of the issues cited above are still in processing stage only even after the lapse of 15 months. The delay over year causes resentment.
Is cadre restructuring – A mirage in Postal
The proposals for cadre restructuring have been discussed more than six to seven times but no minutes were issued so far. The position is still under the initial stage. The Secretary assured in the minutes that it will be formulated before 31.8.2011. What are the reasons for such lethargy? Is it not their responsibility to take serious note in this staff welfare? The Sixth Pay Commission stated to finalise the cadre review proposal by the department itself, but even after the lapse of 5 years, there is no move to this direction in respect of our cadres.
Clear injustice and cheating
Member (P) while discussing the demands on 27.12.2011, stated that it is not possible to create separate cadre for system Administrators, as they are only PAs and now in all Post offices, the PAs are becoming the trouble shooters.We recorded our objections. Then Secretary praised the services of these officials at the time of extracting work from them. Without spending a rupee the modernization in postal to the present extent could be achieved due to their tireless and tedious work. After sucking their blood, instead of recognizing their services, they are now sidelined.
Committee – to consider or deny?
A separate committee consisting of three DDGs was constituted to consider the proposals. We don’t know what the fate of the committee is. In the last cadre review meeting, it was discussed and agreed for the carving out this cadre with higher promotional posts. If the department now declines to consider this case, how can we allow?
No time! Very busy! Mckensey is on the door!
The Postmen committee headed by Ms. KalpanaTiwary General Manager, MB is still not met and the madam is very busy in implementing the proposals of Mckensey anyhow in postal despite all odds and consequences. All their problems are undressed. Their issues like combination of beats, double duty, harassment in project arrow offices, distance factor, number of articles, Grant of cycle allowance without distance conditions, good quality uniforms, revision of norms etc. have not been taken for consideration and all are under the cold storage.
All centralisation – But here decentralization!
The only major demand of the Administrative union to stop decentralisation of PLI and RPLI and save DPLI has not been taken due note of and the rapid decentralisation has already taken off without providing any man power or required infrastructure to operative staff in POs. The similar is the situation in respect of Postal Accounts & civil wing and their genuine grievances are not attended so far.
Lost identity – continuous denial of dues
The only demand of the SBCO to declare it as divisional cadre has been out rightly rejected by the member (P) on 27.12.2011 even though it was assured to consider during the July 2011 talks. The genuine demands of drivers who cannot be equated with staff car drivers due to their recruitment condition of requirement of heavy vehicle licence and shall only be equated either with railway or defence are not being met with justice. The same condition prevails to Artisans & charge hands in MMS.
20 years demand – Not for outright rejection
Member (P) out rightly rejected the demand on RTP to consider their service for MACP promotion on 27.12.2011, instead of taking up the cases with nodal ministries. Similarly the issues required clarifications on MACP are also dealt with routine manner instead of considering the genuine plight of the officials.
Importance of Accounts – How can it be explained!
Member (P) is of the opinion that there is no need for separate APM Accounts & others. The importance of Accounts and the role of Accountants in all dealings have to be explained once again. That is the fate of the unions.
Reminding black emergency days to catch ‘Aadmis’ for family planning
The assurances made in July 2011 to permit the Postmaster Grade I officials to appear IPO/Group ‘B’ examination has not been honoured yet. There is no clear cut decision on this even after five months. Our demand to fill up all LSG, HSG II of HSG I Posts before implementation of postmaster’s cadre by relaxing the conditions has not at all been considered.
No! No! – You are similarly situated Persons!
The request to apply the Supreme Court judgment on RRR Candidates of Tamilnadu circle to all the similarly situated persons has been turned down by Member (P) on 27.12.2011.
Contributory negligence – Democle’s sword
We demanded to issue a clarificatory orders to arrest the menace of misuse of contributory negligence factors against innocent officials as the instruction issued in July 2011 is totally insufficient and not covered all the following important points.
(i) Non adherence of DG’s order dated 09.07.1959
(ii) Violation of Directorate orders dt. 30.11.60 & 10.02.1975
(iii) Non observation of Appendix 4 of FHB vol. I.
(iv) Violation or Rule 204 (A) (1) Vol III – Honest errors can be condoned.
(v) Violation of Rule 137-Recovery from retired officials.
(vi) Violation of Rule 106, 107 & 108 Vol III – Extenuating factors should be given due weight.
(vii) Violation of Directorate orders dt. 8.10.63 – Minor mistakes in discharging duties to be condoned.
(viii) Violation of Dte. letter dated 29.11.2000 about Rule 11 (iii) of CCS Rules.
Misuse of powers! Not at lower level! By the power at Apex level
There is total misuse of Contributory negligence factors. APM (Accounts) & Accountants who have not obtained declaration at the time of 5th CPC are being ordered with recovery to the extent of 7 to 8 lakhs in each case. How can it be justified? The Chief PMG, MP Circle & Chief PMG Tamilnadu clarified about fixation of postman pay by taking two advance increments for each case. Whether the department will initiate action against them to recover the whole amount from them for issue of such clarifications in respect of their circle? If the department did not like to waive the over payment, it would have filed SLP in the Supreme court against Principle CAT orders and this is nothing but absolute misuse of this provisions.
Minus Balance – major threat
In many circles recoveries under contributory negligence on SB minus balance are being ordered without initiating any action to recover the amount first from the depositors. Before finalizing the minus balance, whether the un posted items have been cleared or not? Not at all! Just by hook or crook the responsibility is being fixed on anyone’s shoulder! No norms! No ethics! The suggestion of the CHQ to adjust them under UCP and initiate action to recover the amount from deposit which was discussed in the last July 2011 meeting also has not at all been considered!
Curbs in trade unions – topsy turvey actions against rules at circle levels
This is another serious development in recent days in many circles in curbing the trade union activities at circle level.
When Sri. B. Bhagwan Dass Member (D) clarified vide his letter No. 8-1/2001-SR dated 7.2.2001 that FR 17 (A) can be imposed only in cases of incitement, instances of violence and sabotage etc.
Whereas, the same is flouted in many circles and the circle heads are running amuck with their own views.
(i) In Punjab circle, Jullendhar division, the officials availed EL/MC from 24.5.2011 to 26.5.2011 and also for two or three days suffix/prefix were awarded Dies non with the presumption that they would have been attended Dharna at Chandigarh organized by the Postal JCA on 25.05.2011
(Where is the provision?)
(ii) For participation of strike on 7.9.2010, All India strike more than 500 GDS where awarded with FR 17 (A). Is it not violating the Directorate orders cited above? Similar is the case in Pune RMS.
(iii) In Mumbai City West division, the SPMs who have already given their declaration about their participation of strike on 7.9.2010 and the ASPOs replied that he could not make any arrangements were proceeded with Rule 16 charges. The SPOs punished them with censure. Now the DPS reviewed and issued notice to 28 Officials to enhance the punishment from censure to withholding one increment for 24 months and awarded the same to one official at first. The DPS charged that the official should have come to control room and deposit key on 7.9.2010. Is there any such provision to deposit the key in the rules without handing over the charge to other? How can it be violated the Rule? Is it not absolute misuse of disciplinary powers and excessive action? When the strike on 7.9.2010 was not declared as illegal, whether such proceedings will meet justice. When these were brought to the notice of Directorate, it remains as mute spectators.
Unbridled horses – silent spectators at
The above are the real facts and nothing exaggerated. Under these circumstances what will be the option available to unions to ventilate their grievances. Even assured demands are not honoured and diluted what is the remedy available for us. When all the circle/divisional heads and PTC Directors are taking law on their hands to penalize the officials for no reason, how we can shut our eyes.
We have no alternative
The Postal JCA after elaborating all these issues and facts have decided to go ahead with the preparation for the indefinite strike from 17th January 2012.
Therefore it is our fervent appeal that all our circle secretaries/divisional secretaries shall rise up to the occasion and organize the workers for the total participation of officials in the ensuring strike.
Mobilise the rank & file
The P3 CHQ is nominating the CHQ office bearers as representatives for organising the workers in each Circle.
The following CHQ office bearers are in charge of below mentioned circles for strike preparation
Com. MangeshParab, Working President Maharashtra Circle
Com. N. Gopalakrishnan, Working President Karnataka Circle
Com. R. C. Mishra, Vice President Odisha Circle
Com. C. P. Shobhana, Vice President Kerala Circle
Com. R. Sivannarayana, Dy. General Secretary Andhra Pradesh Circle
Com. GaurangDevMaitty, Asst. General Secretary West Bengal Circle
Com. Subash Mishra, Asst. General Secretary U.P & Uttarakhand Circle
Com. A. Veeramani, Asst. General Secretary Tamilnadu Circle
Com. Balwinder Singh, Financial Secretary Punjab, Haryana & Delhi Circle
Com. H. P. Diwakar, Asst. Financial Secretary Rajasthan, H. P. & J & K Circle
Com. S. A. Hameed, Org. General Secretary Chattisgarh& M. P. Circle
Com. U. K. Tiwari, Org. General Secretary Bihar & Jharkhand Circle
Com. L. P. Saikia, Org. General Secretary Assam & North East Circle
All Circle Secretaries are requested to invite them and arrange meeting at all regional levels positively in the second week of January2012. TA/DA of the office bearers may please be borne by the respective circle unions for the Strike tour.
All circle secretaries are requested to arrange meeting at all regional headquarters and invite the CHQ representative for such meeting. Similarly all circle secretaries and circle office-bearers should organize strike tour along with other JCA constitutes to make the strike a grand success.
Act, agitate, achieve and advance
It is our duty to fight for the survival and future of the Department of the post as well as advancing by achieving our demands.
Let us pull down all the differences at all levels and unite to act, advance and achieve. Let us organize the workers with full devotion and show our united strength with 100% participation in the strike compelling the Government to come down and settle our demands.
Note: - This paper is being prepared in simple English just in order to reach all the comrades right from HSG I to GDS. All Circle/Divisional Secretaries are requested to translate this paper in regional language and circulate among all the postal employees irrespective of unions they belong. They should have the only intention that the struggle is for our survival & advancement.
With struggle greetings,
(K. V. Sridharan)