...................................... (Associate Member of National Federation of Postal Employees) ......................,.................
......... An organisation born with the ideals of Trade Union democracy and Unity & United struggle for the emancipation of GDS..
Rural post offices across the country shut, Modi govt turns a blind eye
VIKRANT JHAPublished: May 29th 2018, 07.11 PM
Rural post offices across the country shut, Modi govt
turns a blind eye
employees in Mananthavady in Wayanad in Kerala sit on an indefinite strike
demanding regularisation as government employees. Rural postal employees across
the country have been protesting for eight days
employees across the country have been protesting for eight days, but the
Narendra Modi-led central government seems to have turned a blind eye to their
In a show of unity across the
country, more than 2,70,000 postal employees in rural areas have been
protesting across the country since May 22, demanding regularisation as
government employees and implementation of the Kamlesh Chandra Committee
reforms submitted in November 2016, but the government seems unperturbed by the
indefinite strike or their demands.
The protest by Gramin Dak Sevaks’
(GDS) on Tuesday reached its eighth day, but “nothing concrete” has been done
by the Narendra Modi-government, alleged All India Postal Employees
Union—Gramin Dak Sevak (AIPEU-GDS). The strike has led to the shut down of more
than 1,29,000 post offices across the country and the postal employees have
declared an indefinite strike until their demands are met.
Gramin Dak Sevaks are
extra-departmental agents recruited by the postal department to serve in rural
areas. They have been demanding pay and facilities at par with regular postal
department employees for years.
Union Government had constituted a one-man Kamlesh Chandra Committee in the
Seventh Pay Commission to study the wage structure of the rural postal
employees and review and suggest changes in existing wage structures,
facilities and other social security benefits provided to them.
committee, had in its report, recommended the minimum wage of the rural postal
officers be made ₹10,000 and a maximum of ₹35,480, the abolition of the 50
years age limit, an annual hike of 3% and a children’s education allowance of
Rs 6,000 per annum. They had introduced a risk and hardship allowance of ₹500
per month for those working in the special areas. The Committee had increased
the ex-gratia gratuity to ₹5,00,000 from ₹60,000, while also suggesting that
the scope of the Circle Welfare Fund (CWF) scheme should include immediate
government has been offering nothing to us. So, we are going to continue with
the indefinite protest,” says P Pandurangarao, the General Secretary of
government has been stating that they require at least three months to
implement the suggested reforms. “But when they have done nothing in the past
18 months, we have no confidence in them anymore and that’s why we have
demanded it in writing,” says Pandurangarao. “But they have refused,” added Pandurangarao.
“Even though we are government employees, our life is worse
than daily-wage labourers,” says Pandurangarao, adding “we get no subsidies, no
benefits and have no choice but to survive with a meagre salary. The government
does not even provide us with basic facilities such as a house for an office or
the electricity bill. It’s the head Post Master’s responsibility to arrange for
a place for the ‘Dak Ghar’ (Post Office)”
Although GDS’ are central
government employees, they are considered temporary employees which deprives
them of various benefits such as the retirement benefit, pensions, etc. “After
working for 35 to 40 years, we are given a meager retirement benefit of Rs.1,00,000. Our per day salary is not more than Rs.300 and every
year we get an increment ofRs.50 to Rs.60.
We get no other benefits,” Pandurangarao says. “How is it possible for us to
survive like this,” he asks.
All India working
president of AIPEU-GDS, Virendra Sharma says, “There have been at least five
rounds of talks, but nothing conclusive has come out of it. Our demand is
simple; implement the reforms suggested by the Committee constituted by you
(the government). The protests have affected lives in rural India and we don’t
wish to continue, but the government is simply not ready to listen.”
“On June 1, we will
protest outside the Ministry of Communications’ office in New Delhi. We will
not give in even if they turn a blind eye to us, they (the government) will
have to listen to us,” says Sharma. //copy// Click Here to view the article