New Delhi, May 9: The Group of Ministers, comprising of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, had assured the unions last year that their concerns related to 7th Pay Commission would be addressed. Some of the major grievances articulated by the National Joint Council of Action (NJCA), the consolidated body of union, was the revision in allowances, including Housing Rent Allowance (HRA), and altering the fitment factor used for wage revision of central government employees.
The NJCA had met GoM on June 30, 2016, to exhibit their apprehensions against the Empowered Committee of Secretaries for not paying heed to their concerns related to the 7th Pay Commission report prepared by Justice (retd) AK Mathur. The meeting was held after the NJCA had called for an indefinite strike beginning from July 11 last year. Following the meet, the NJCA called off the strike, drawing much flak from a section of workforce. The GoM had reportedly assured the union leaders of time-bound addressal of their demands.
Did Group of Ministers fail to honour the assurance given on allowances and wage revision?
Over 10 months have passed since the GoM had assured the unions of quick addressal of their demands. The high-level committees were formed in July last year by Finance Minister Jaitley. Although they were provided a timeframe till November, it was gradually extended for six additional months.
Although the Lavasa committee has submitted its report, there has been no tentative date released by the government for allowance hike. No indication has been made either about the release on arrears on allowances. According to NJCA, the issue of wage revision would only be undertaken after anomalies related to allowances are cleared.
On being asked by India.com whether he is disappointed with the GoM for not honouring the assurance in a time-bound manner, NJCA chief Shiv Gopal Mishra said, “When we met the ministers, they assured us. We were told that our concerns would be addressed in a time-bound manner. We were also told that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants the anomalies to be addressed in order to provide convenience to the employees.”
Does NJCA regrets calling off the indefinite strike called on July 11?
“We have yet not called off the strike, but only deferred it. If need be, we would revive the call. But I would be personally pained to do so. Confrontation would only delay our cause,” the NJCA convenor told India.com.
“At the time, we thought it is in the best interest of the employees to compromise our stand and allow government to take 4 months to address our demands. But now, we are turning distressed. How long should the employees wait? We have been waiting for more than 10 months?” Mishra said.
Mishra conceded the fact that a section of workforce was disappointed with the strike being deferred. “Yes, there is a fract which is disappointed. But, we did not take that decision in the air. The decision to defer the strike was taken after due consultation with our cadres on the ground,” he added.
‘We still believe in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’
Mishra, while speaking to India.com, expressed faith in PM Modi, saying, “He is our Prime Minister. If need be, we will meet him also. We believe in him. I am sure he would not invite confrontation from the employees. We pin our hopes in him for the timely addressal of our demands.”
Although NJCA is still posing faith in the government, the Confederation of Central Government employees has called for action on behalf of workforce. Confederation secretary M Krishnan called for a mass dharna on May 23, demanding the hie in allowances and revision of minimum wages at the earliest.