(contd from 20-02-2017)
WHY NJCA SHOULD REVIVE THE DEFERRED INDEFINITE STRIKE ?
3. ARREARS ON ALLOWANCES INCLUDING HRA AND TRANSPORT ALLOWANCE IS GOING TO BE REJECTED:
Now it has become clear that the Government has constituted the Allowance Committee headed by Finance Secretary, mainly to delay the implementation of enhanced allowances and finally deny the arrears by implementing the revised allowance either from 01-01-2017 or from 01-04-2017. The four months time fixed for the Allowance Committee is already extended to six months upto 22-02-2017. Reserve Bank Governor, Dr. Urjit Patel had hinted to the media that the burden of payment of arrears during this financial year will not be there, meaning that Government may not give retrospective effect to the revised allowances. The RBI Governor, Dr. Urjit Patel made the following observations, which is published in the RBI website.
“The extension of two months given to the Ministry of Finance to receive the notification on higher allowances under the Pay Commission’s award could push its fuller effect into the next financial year rather than this financial year”.
Further, the Allowance Committee has not held any negotiation with the JCM Staff Side. It just heard the views of the staff side. The request of the JCM staff side to hold one more meeting with staff side NJCM was not favourably considered by the Finance Secretary, who is the Chairman of the Allowance Committee. No indication is given as to whether the percentage of HRA recommended by 7th CPC will be enhanced to 30%, 20% and 10%. The fate of other allowances are also the same. Unless NJCA take a firm stand and negotiate with the Government by reviving the indefinite strike, the employees will be placed in a desperate and helpless situation, if Government is allowed to unilaterally declare the HRA and other allowances, without retrospective effect from 01-01-2016, and also without much modification, thereby denying crores of rupees as arrears.
4. REVISION OF MINIMUM PAY, FITMENT FORMULA - HIGH LEVEL COMMITTEE NOT YET CONSTITUTED:
While deferring the indefinite strike from 11th July 2016, as per the assurance given by the Group of Ministers, the NJCA in its statement dated 06-07-2016, stated as follows:
“The committee set up to look into the matter of minimum wage and fitment formula is expected to submit their report to the Government in the given time frame of not more than four months”.
Finance Ministry’s press statement issued on 06-07-2016 also stated as follows:
“The Ministers assured the Union leaders that the issues raised by them would be considered by a High Level Committee”.
After one month, the NJCA wrote letters on 28-07-2016 to Hon’ble Home Minister, Finance Minister, Railway Minister and Cabinet Secretary in which it conveyed the following:
“It is a matter of concern that, despite elapsing of a pretty long time, nothing has been heard in this regard from the Government of India, which is leading to serious resentment amongst the Central Government employees.”
Again after two months the JCM staff side, Secretary, wrote a letter on 12-08-2016, to Shri. Arun Jaitely, Finance Minister -
“We are expecting a quick action on the part of the Government to operationalise the assurance of setting up a High Level Committee to go into the Minimum Wage, Multiplication factor etc. However, we are disappointed that even after a lapse of more than a month, no orders have been issued by the Government in this regard
.......... we therefore appeal to you that the concerned authorities may be asked to expedite the issuance of orders setting up the committee and finalisation of the report within the available time of remaining three months.”
A group of Senior Officers invited the JCM staff side on 30-08-2016 to discuss the grievances arising out of the recommendations related to 7th CPC. No High Level Committee was constituted and no terms of reference was notified. The second meeting with Group of seniors was held on24-10-2016.
Eventhough the group of senior officers held two round of discussion with JCM staff side, surprisingly they had not come prepared to discuss increase in minimum wage and fitment formula. They made a mockery of the meeting by disclosing in the first meeting that they are not fully aware of the details of the issues to be discussed and in the second meeting they told that they came for discussing allowances (though another committee under the chairmanship of Finance Secretary is constituted for allowances) and not minimum wage and fitment formulas. The JCM staffside leaders felt humiliated.
After that meeting, the JCM staffside wrote the following letter on 26-10-2016, to Hon’ble Finance Minister.....
“We (staff side) interacted with the said committee headed by Shri. P. K. Das, Addl. Secretary (Expenditure) on 24-10-2016. It would be quite appropriate to bring to your kind notice that, we have felt, during the course of meeting, that the proceedings of the committee are extremely disappointing and are left with the impression that committee is dilly-dallying the issue.................
we are, therefore, left with no option, but to address this communication with the fervent hope that, your goodself will direct the said committee to interact with the staff side in a fruitful manner and arrive at a mutually agreeable proposal on the issue of minimum pay and fitment formula.... We have full trust and believe that, the Government would honour the decision taken in the meeting held on 30-06-2016 in your benign presence and suitable direction will be given to the committee to complete the assigned task within the stipulated time frame in a satisfactory manner.... It would be the most unfortunate development, we regret to state, if we are constrained to tread the path of struggle once again in the event of the committee not coming up with a satisfactory settlement.”
Inspite of all these, after that (ie after 24-10-2016) no meeting of the group of senior officers was held and no discussion on minimum wage and fitment formula took place. The four months time fixed for the High Level Committee (which is yet to constituted) expired on 30-10-2016. Government has gone back from the most important assurance given to the NJCA leaders on 30-06-2016 by the Group of Cabinet Ministers. NJCA decided to defer the strike mainly because of this assurance of the Govt. that the Minimum pay and fitment formula will be enhanced. Now that Govt. has gone back and betrayed the entire Central Govt. employees and pensioners. NJCA has no other option but to revive the indefinite strike.