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Monday, 2 December 2019

A Struggle for Each Benefit and a Benefit in Each Struggle

 
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A Struggle for Each Benefit and a Benefit in Each Struggle


Published in Dak Jagruti , December-2019 Issue
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Bruhaspati Samal
Organizing General Secretary
AIPEU, Group-C, CHQ
New Delhi – 110 008


While the entire nation is suffering recently due to the wrong economic and anti-people / anti-workers / anti-employees policies of the present Govt. on one hand and the entirety of working class including Central / State  Govt. / PSU Employees are under apprehensions on job security, retirement, pension and corporatization / privatization / downsizing of Central Govt. Establishments on the other, a clarion call has been given by the central Trade Unions and independent federations from  Banks, Insurance, Postal, Railways, Telecom, Defence, Transport, Power, Education etc to make the forthcoming one day National General Strike successful on 08.01.2020 pressurizing the present Govt. to stop its anti-worker labour reforms and to reverse the anti-people economic policies.  National Federation of Postal Employees, the major constituent of the Confederation of Central Govt. Employees and Workers has also resolved to bring total success by ensuring massive participation of its members.

In this context, the past experiences gained by us are worth analyzing.  We have noticed heavy fluctuations in participation of our members in several Circles. While some Circles are listed on the top strictly adhering to the instructions of NFPE CHQ, participation in many circles are disheartening.  The reasons of poor participation are very clear. There may be lack of coordination in between the Circle Union and the Divisional Unions, lack of proper understanding and individual opinion / decision towards justification of charter of demands, improper motivational and campaign programmes by the leadership, lack of interest by individual members / leaders, unnecessary shifting of responsibility towards the higher forums etc. Above all, what has been observed, there is lack of seriousness with most of the members towards the gravity of the situation under which the nation is passing through and the sufferings of the common man / unemployed youths / employees and workers as a whole.  

We feel it relevant here to share one my bitter experiences. During the initial stage of CSI rollout, my Divisional head issued an order for conducting a workshop on Sunday and instructed all PAs / SPMs / Postmasters to remain present in the venue by 9 O’clock. Even reaching at 9 AM, we found no chair vacant and as many as 200 staff members had already occupied their seats and waited for the instructor to come. When we started to arrange a seat, the SSPOs called and offered a chair near him. The workshop started after half-an hour late even though the hall was full. This is just illustrative. In almost all melas / meetings / workshops arranged by the Department, there is always satisfactory participation which is seriously lacking in case of Unions / Federations. Witten circulars, invitation through website, eMails, WhatsApp messages / SMS and repeated telephonic calls to attend the meetings / dharnas / workshops and even the biennial conferences in time have invited very poor responses.  Now a question arises as to why the staff members are very particular in obeying the orders of the administration rather than honouring the instructions of the Union / Federation.

Out of several reasons, we find the following two most important.

1.    Anxiety to learn from the workshop that suits the job profile for discharging the given assignments more efficiently as a responsible employee.

2.    Fear of punishment in disobeying the orders of the administration.  

While the staff members don’t find it necessary to learn something from the meetings / conferences / workshops / Trade Union classes organized by the Unions / Federations to work for the nation and society as a responsible Indian citizen, there is no such fear in case of disobedience of Union’s/Federation’s instructions.  Thus, while the meetings / workshops arranged with departmental orders become successful with active participation of the staff members, the same arranged by the Unions / Federations do leave very little impact due to poor participation. We feel the absence of our delegates seriously in the recently concluded 32nd AIC at Hyderabad. While leaders of national / international repute were deliberating, more than 50% of the delegates did not consider it necessary to listen and learn.

In this regard, we should be very specific that above all, we are India Post employees first and then only belong to any Union / Federation. So, the Department and its orders should be our first priority. There is no doubt about it that orders issued by the administration need to be obeyed invariably by each staff member.

Keeping aside the above aspects, we should not forget our prime identity as the responsible citizens of India and it is our fundamental responsibility to save India when it is in danger for which we should have the basic knowledge the way India is moving ahead. We should educate ourselves on the political / financial / social / spiritual / economic condition of the country and the conditions of the citizens from rural to urban, from common man to corporate giants, from farmers to fathers including children, senior citizens, unemployed youths, women and many others. We have to understand the plans and policies / visions and missions of the Govt. and its implementation. We have to realize the heterogeneous racial, lingual, religious and social culture of this sub-continent upholding its rich cultural heritage through religious pluralism with Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Budhists, Jains etc. We have to work for protecting our national unity, social cohesion, secular and federal structure and democratic ethos. And honestly admitting, the activities of the Unions / Federations go a long way in this line in educating all of us to prove ourselves as responsible Indian citizens. We have to realize this through our active participation only in all kinds of union activities. The people who feel that the Unions / Federations are there just to protest the Govt. / administration are completely wrong.

Talking about India Post, we all should note that when the Department has already gone one step forward towards corporatization with opening of IPPB Ltd., and both the Department and Govt. are now accelerating implementation of the recommendations of the Task Force Committee, there is every apprehension that India Post may face the fate of BSNL shortly if not protested in right manner in right time. Not only India Post, but Railways, Defence, Airports and many other Central Govt. establishments are moving on the same direction of corporatization/privatization. When the Department will not remain as a Central Govt. establishment, how can we retain your status and dignity as a Central Govt. employee? Will there be any justification to cry for next pay commission? What will happen to LTC, Bonus, Medical Reimbursement and all such benefits we have achieved through rigorous struggle programmes and now enjoying as Central Govt. employees? Who will struggle against the policy deficiencies? Who will fight against the economic slowdowns and unexpected price rise? Who will fight to rationalize the PDS system? Who will ask equal pay for equal work? Who will protest the attack on minimum wage? How can we stand against injustice if our trade union rights will be snatched away in the name of amendment of labour laws? What about the so called return of black money? Why there was demonetization? Why the status of independent bodies like CBI, RBI etc is undermined? Why there is politics in the name of religion?  So many questions like this have now affected the intellectual mass of the country.

Have we ever thought seriously on all these issues?  No Govt. has given us anything so far suo moto. There is a struggle for each benefit and there is a benefit in each struggle.  We have to protect the hard earned benefits we have gained through rigorous struggle programmes. In such a critical juncture, the call given by the central trade unions and independent federations keep much importance. Our success is a must on the day we will show our cent percent active participation  under one umbrella in a single call without any plea. Let’s participate enmasee and motivate the members of public to support for bringing a thundering success to the forthcoming National General Strike on 08.01.2020 at least not to lose our national unity, social cohesion, secular and federal structure and democratic ethos.
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