NOW THE BALL IS IN THE GOVT’S COURT LET US BE READY
FOR INDEFINITE STRIKE
Seventh Central Pay Commission has submitted its recommendations to Government on 19-11-2015. As most of the recommendations are retrograde and far below the expectations of the employees, the JCM National Council Staff side under the united banner of National Joint Council of Action (NJCA) strongly protested and demanded modification of the retrograde recommendations. It further decided to organise indefinite strike and letter conveying the decision was sent to the Cabinet Secretary.
Main demands raised by NJCA are: (1) minimum wage of Rs.26,000/- as against 18000 recommended by CPC, (2) upward revision of the fitment formula and application of the same in all pay scales in the pay matrix, (3) retention of percentage of HRA as 30%, 20% and 10% as against 24%, 16% and 8% recommended by CPC. (4) recommendation of the CPC to abolish important allowances should be rejected, (5) reject recommendations to discontinue all non-interest bearing advances, (6) reject the recommendation to reduce the salary to 80% for the second year of child care leave, (7) reject recommendations to impose more stringent conditions on MACP scheme such as “very good” benchmark, qualifying examination, re-introduction of efficiency bar etc. (8) modification in the parity-in-pension and acceptance of other minimum demands of pensioners and (9) Grant of Civil Servants Status to Gramin Dak Sevaks and extending all the benefits of departmental employees to Gramin Dak Sevaks on pro-rata basis. There are other demands also which are equally important.
Govt. constituted an Implementation Cell in the Finance Ministry to study the recommendations and submit its proposal to the Empowered Committee of Secretaries under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary. Empowered Committee will submit final concrete proposals to Cabinet for approval. On receipt of the letter of NJCA addresed to Cabinet Secretary regarding indefinite strike, the Implementation Cell called the JCM staff side leaders to present its view points before the cell. Accordingly the NJCA leaders met the Convenor of Implementation Cell and explained the justification of each demands in the charter of demands.
NJCA decided to give strike notice on 11th March 2016 to commence the indefinite strike from 11th April 2016. At this stage the Cabinet Secretary invited the JCM National Council staff side leaders for discussion with Empowered Committee of Secretaries on 1st March 2016. The NJCA leaders attended the discussion and once again explained the justification of all demands before the Empowered Committee. Cabinet Secretary gave a patient hearing but made no commitment on any of the demands. He finally appealed the staff side to give some more time for the Government for inter-departmental consultations and to take a final view and decision on ech demand raised by the staff side in the charter of demands.
NJCA met and reviewed the whole situation and came to the conclusion that as the Government has appealed for some more time to take a decision, it will be appropriate on the part of the staff side to give time to the Government, so that later on Government cannot blame that NJCA went on sudden strike inspite of the appeal from the Government to give some more time. Secondly, Railways and Defence departments come under the purview of Industrial Dispute Act and as per the ID Act, if strike notice is served on 11th March 2016, strike should commence within six weeks from the date of serving notice, by which time the election in four states will not be over. Thirdly, as the Assembly elections in four states have been notified and election code of conduct has come into force, the employees of four states will find it difficult to join the strike as many of them will be drafted for election duty. Taking into consideration all the above aspects, the NJCA decided to defer the indefinite strike from April 11th to July 11th and to serve the strike notice on June 9th instead of March 11th.
Now the ball is in the Govt.’s court. Before June 9th, ie. date of serving strike notice, the Government will be getting seven month time from the date of submission of the 7th CPC report, to take a final decision on all the demands and also to come to a negotiated settlement with the staff side. Any further delay is unwarranted and unjustified and cannot be tolerated. If the Government take an adamant stand and reject the justified demands of the staff side, then we will be forced to serve notice for indefinite strike from July 11th. Government cannot take the staff side for granted.