Retrograde recommendations of 7th CPC – NFIR writes to Railway Ministry
Retrograde recommendations of 7th CPC – serious unrest among Railway employees – intervention requested-reg.
National Federation of Indian Railwaymen
3, Chelmsford Road, New Delhi – 110 055
No. IV/NFIR/7th CPC/CORRES (R.B.)
Shri Suresh Prabhu,
Hon’ble Minister for Railways.
Sub: Retrograde recommendations of 7th CPC – serious unrest among Railway employees – intervention requested-reg.
NFIR brings to your kind notice that the 7th Central Pay Commission has done grave injustice to the Railway employees of various categories. It is very sad to convey that the 7th Central Pay Commission has failed to give due weightage to the uniqueness of Railways working, complex, hazardous and difficult working conditions of Rail Workforce who are involved in ensuring uninterrupted services round the clock facing all odds, inclement weather conditions, remoteness, lack of minimum basic amenities etc.
In the meeting chaired by the Chairman, Railway Board on 04th February 2016, NFIR has explained the injustice done to Railway categories by VII CPC and resultant disappointment and anger among various categories of Railway employees. The Federation has specially requested the CRB to take initiative in taking the matters to higher levels of the Government, impressing the need for improving the 7th CPC recommendations. Federations have also given “5 pages brief “, to the Member Staff and other Railway Board’s Officials on 8th February, 2016 for taking remedial measures.
In this connection, NFIR invites the kind attention of Hon’ble MR to the following specific issues:-
(i) Technical Supervisors (JEs & SSEs): Junior Engineers and Senior Section Engineers in Permanent Way, Works, Bridges, Track Machines, Carriage & Wagon, Loco, Mechanical, Electrical, S&T etc., are shouldering greater responsibilities and providing fuIl technical support to the Railways in ensuring maintenance, trouble shooting, prevention of failures and un-interrupted flow of services round the clock. While entry qualification of Junior Engineers is “Diploma plus Induction training”, the Graduate Engineers are inducted as SSE in GP 4600/- (PB-2). Vast majority of this category is of technically qualified engineers who are classified as “excluded” under HOER and are expected to be available on duty round the clock for 24 hours a day.There is no career growth at all to this category as the Group ‘C’ highest Grade Pay is limited to Rs. 4600/- (PB-2) only, thereby the directly recruited technocrats from Open Market in GP 4600/- continued to remain in the game recruitment Grade Pay except a very few engineers who may rise to the level of Group ‘B’ (Gaz). Though it was agreed to replace GP 4600/- with GP 4800/- when the issue was discussed in the Anomaly Committee meeting, the Railway Ministry had not implemented the said agreement.
While the 7th CPC has admitted (Para 11.40.113) that there is an element of stagnation at SSE level, the Commission has unfortunately, not made any specific recommendation for their career progression. The SSEs in addition to their supervisory and technical duties are custodians of stores/material worth crores of rupees and equally responsible for establishment matters of the staff working under their control. It is relevant to take note that SSEs were granted pay scale of 840-1040/840-1200 (3rd CPC) which was lowered down gradually by successive pay commissions. Resultantly the Award given by Railway labour Tribunal headed by Justice N.M. Miabhoy which was accepted and implemented by the Government has been scuttled. The vertical and horizontal relativities were also disturbed due to placement of Senior Technician and JE in one and the same Grade Pay of Rs. 4200/-, causing disappointment Junior Engineers who supervise the working of Senior Technicians.
In order to mitigate the injustice done to JEs & SSEs, it would be necessary to place them in the pay Matrix levels as below:-
JEs – in 7th CPC Pay Matrix level 8
SSEs -in Pay Matrix level 9 with appropriate status (Gazetted) and further career progression.
(ii) Technicians in Railways:
The Technicians in various departments of the Railways are performing the duties of maintenance of various types of assets, buildings, P. Way tracks, equipments, rolling stock, Signal/Telecom net work, over-head equipments of Electric Traction on Open Line, PoH activities in Workshops/manufacturing activities in production units and various other technical jobs under the open sky in all weather conditions, facing noise/dust pollutions in sheds, depots, yards, pit lines, stations, and also on running trains. The 7th CPC while recommending revised Pay Matrix level has ignored the duties of complex and unique nature performed by railway technicians in all shifts round the clock throughout the rail network which are not comparable with the technicians of any other ministry/department. The Technicians in Railways are extremely unhappy and seriously agitated over the injustice done to them by 7th CPC.
It is worth-mentioning that the Railway Ministry had, in fact, agreed for merger of Technician-II with Technician-I in GP 2800/- (PB-1), but however the said proposal was procrastinated and kep pending for years by the Ministry of Finance. The VII CPC has unfortunately ignored this fact, inspite of NFIR’s presentation before the commission. The Railway technicians therefore deserve placement in higher Pay Matrix levels. It is therefore proposed that Pay Matrix level 7 be provided with designation “Master Technician” to this category and equally the Pay Matrix levels be upgraded to the Technicians suitably.
(iii) Running Staff:
(a) “Loco Pilot” category:
The entry qualification of Asst. Loco Pilots (GP 1900/-) is matriculation plus ITI (NCVT). Those selected through RRB, after clearing the aptitude test and Aye-One standard medical examination are given rigorous training in general & subsidiary rules (open line) for performing train running duties in all weather conditions. It is unfortunate that the ALP category has been given normal replacement Pay Matrix levels in place of existing Grade Pay Rs. 1900 & 2400/-. This is a unique category directly involved in trains working which deserves improved Pay Matrix levels.
The High Level Safety Review Committee headed by Dr. Anil Kakodkar had in fact recommended for upward revision of entry qualification to “Diploma in Engineering” but the said recommendation has not been considered by, the Railway Ministry as also VII CPC. It is sad to note that the Pay Commission vide Para 11.40. 63 has concurred with the views of Railway Ministry stating that “effectiveness of the Loco Pilots can be improved by revamping their training rather than enhancing the minimum educational qualification” inspite of the fact that the staff of this category are expected to possess knowledge on technical aspects of 19 types of Locomotives for safe running of trains. It would therefore be necessary to abolish GP 1900/- in the case of ALP category and upgrade GP 2400/- to 2800/- for placement in the Pay Matrix at appropriate level.
The 7th CPC has failed to address the anomalies in the 6th CPC Pay Structure of Loco Pilot category which has resulted in continuance of Loco Pilot (Shunting), Loco Pilot (Goods), Loco Pilot (Passenger) and Loco Pilot (Mail) in one and the same Grade Pay of GP 4200/- although the responsibilities and accountabilities of these staff are higher in promotion posts.
When the 5th CPC had done grave injustice to the Loco Pilot (Mail) category, the matter was dealt by NFIR at the level of Government, consequently, the Union Cabinet had approved for allotment of improved Pay Scale of Rs. 6000-9800 to the Loco Pilot (Mail) w.e.f. 01/01/1996. Unfortunately, 6th CPC had brought down the Pay Scale to GP 4200/- and made Loco Pilot (Mail) equivalent to that of Loco Pilot (Goods). When this was dealt in the Departmental Anomaly Committee to resolve the issue, the Railway Ministry had agreed for placement of Loco Pilots (Mail) in GP 4600 (PB-2). But the said decision has not been implemented, leading perpetual deprival of Grade Pay to these Staff.
Hence there is need for allotment of higher Pay Matrix levels (Level 7 & Level 8) to Loco Pilot category.
(b) “Train Guard” category:
The 7th CPC has failed to rectify the anomalous Pay Structure of “Train Guards” category. While the entry Grade Pay 2800/- of Guard (Goods) is continued, the Sr. Goods Guard, Passenger as well as Mail Guards are placed in replacement Pay Matrix level of GP 4200, thus the Pay Matrix level has become one and the same even on their promotion. In the case of Station Master category, the 7th CPC has rightly recommended abolition of GP 2800/- on the ground that the entry qualification is “Graduation”, but unfortunately, for Train Guard category, though the entry level educational qualification is “Graduation” similar to that of Station Master, the existing Grade Pay Rs. 2800/- has not been upgraded to GP 4200/- for placement in the corresponding Pay Matrix level. There is therefore need to upgrade the Pay Matrix levels of Train Guards duly abolishing entry GP 2800/- (PB-1).
(iv) Serious discontentment and frustration among the Apex Group ‘C’ Grade Supervisory Officials:
In spite of effective and cogent presentation made by the NFIR before the 7th CPC justifying the need to recommend Gazetted status to the Apex Group ‘C’ Supervisory Officials in various departments, the 7th CPC has unfortunately ignored the valid points placed before the commission. The Supervisory Officials in Railways in all departments are performing multifarious duties and their duty hours are unlimited and they are accountable for lapses, irregularities, failures etc. Most of them are not even entitled to avail weekly rest under HOER as they come under “Excluded” category. These are important field officials who contribute for efficiency, punctuality, quality, safety and productivity. NFIR therefore, seeks Hon’ble MR’s intervention for taking the matter to the Government for granting them Group ‘B’ Gazetted status and onwards career growth.
(v) Need for negotiated settlement on Charter of Demands: The Indian Railways has a Track Record of providing services to the customer with devotion. The Railway employees are committed to serve the Railways and they never failed in rising to the occasion for the cause of nation. On no occasion, there was stoppage of train services during the previous forty years and not a single man day was lost. This uniqueness of Railways needs to be preserved, hence greater responsibility rests on the management for ensuring industrial peace & healthy industrial relations.
More than one employee dies on an average per day in the course of performing duties in Railways while over ten employees on an average sustain injuries every day while performing duties to keep the wheel moving at all times. Non-finalization of grievances pending since long, non-rectification of 6th CPC anomalies are contributing for serious resentment among the Workforce.
Though the Hon’ble Ministers had sent communications to the Finance Ministry urging Government of India to exempt Railways from New Pension Scheme, there has been no positive response from the Government till now. The decision to bring FDI and import trains sets has created fear among Railway employees who strongly feel that the Government is aggressively pursuing to privatize various Railway activities. Bibek Debroy Committee’s report is also one of the contributory factors for Railway employees to feel insecure and fearful that corporates would take over railways sooner or later.
Considering the new situations emerged in Railways as above and also in Defence, postal and other departments of Central Government, the National Joint Council of Action (NJCA) consists of JCM constituent organizations of Central Government employees has decided to go on Indefinite Strike from 11th April 2016 (6:00 A.M. onwards), in case of no negotiated settlement by that time on the Charter of Demands already sent to the Government of India. In Railways, the Federations have decided to serve *Strike Notice” on 11th March 2016.
The Federation is of the strong view that the Government as well as Railway Ministry should take initiative to work towards reaching a negotiated settlement for averting Indefinite Strike.
NFIR, therefore, requests the Hon’ble Minister for Railways to see that the Government/Railway Ministry takes speedy measures for resolving the issues listed in the Charter of Demands amicably through negotiated settlement for averting “Strike”.