Thursday 7 May 2020

Protest against the recent whimsical decision of Odisha Postal Circle administration for mandatory opening of DOP Salary Account with IPPB, 100% attendance in offices during lockdown 3.0 etc. and notice for agitational programmes by Postal JCA, Odisha Circle

Postal Joint Council of Action
National Federation of Postal Employees
Federation of National Postal Organizations
Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar – 751 007

No. PJCA-Odisha/ COVID-19/2020,
                                  Dated at Bhubaneswar the 7th May, 2020
Sj. Subash Chandra Barmma, IPoS
Chief Postmaster General
Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar – 751 001

Sub:-Protest against the recent whimsical decision of Odisha Postal Circle administration for mandatory opening of DOP Salary Account with IPPB, 100% attendance in offices during lockdown 3.0 etc. and notice for agitational programmes by Postal JCA, Odisha  Circle– reg.

Ref.- i. Postal JCA, Odisha Circle letter No. PJCA-Odisha/ COVID-19/2020, dated 05.05.2020 and 06.05.2020
          ii. C  O  letter No. SB/53-1/COVID-19/2020, Dated 04.05.2020
          iii. C  O  letter No. SB/52-52/2015, Dated 06.05.2020
          iv. C  O letter No. DOP/Odisha/COVID-19/2020, Dated 06.05.2020
          v.  C O letter No. Arrow-VC/2010-CH.I, dated 06.05.2020

Respected Sir,
                    Before going to register the sharp reactions of the staff members of Odisha Circle including GDS towards the recent whimsical decisions of the Circle administration to snatch away their welfare, rights and security forcefully, we would like to be very specific at the outset that the Staff Side has never ever opposed any policy decision of the Department and Govt. of India which are issued for the welfare of the Department and nation as well. But definitely we are strongly against the policy deficiencies which affect the welfare of the workers and employees at large. And, the recent orders issued by the Circle Office vide letter No. SB/53-1/COVID-19/2020, Dated 04.05.2020 for mandatory opening of DOP Salary Account with IPPB, No. DOP/Odisha/COVID-19/2020, Dated 06.05.2020 for 100% attendance in offices during lockdown 3.0 violating Postal Directorate and MHA guidelines and No. Arrow-VC/2010-CH.I, dated 06.05.2020 to ask the Postmasters of all HOs to attend V C through ZOOM App in Laptop or Mobile without supplying any such device to a single Postmaster etc. completely stand against the employees’ welfare and depict the whimsical, arbitrary and unacceptable decisions of the administration only and thus strongly protested by the Postal JCA comprising NFPE, FNPO, BPEF  and GDS Unions of Odisha Circle.

2.       In this context, we would like to remind the Circle administration that due to the dedication, hard work and significant contribution of these employees, Odisha Circle could get the CHAMPION AWARD for overall best performing Circle in Group ‘Y’ and SPEED POST REVENUE GROWTH AWARD for highest growth rate in Speed Post Revenue in category ‘D’ for the year 2018-19 in the annual Conference of Heads of the Circles in Srinagar on 31.07.2019. Odisha Postal Circle has been able to open 2526604 POSB Accounts during 2018-19, the premium collection in RPLI and PLI has touched to 160 and 220 corers respectively. In toto, the revenue earning has been increased by 5.81% during 2018-19. And in all such contributions, IPPB Ltd. which is attempted to be given an upward movement at the cost of the Departmental employees and GDS had no role to play.

3.       We are extremely sorry to say that while deciding to snatch away the rights of these dedicated workforces of Odisha Circle through above letters, the Circle administration did forget to weigh their valuable contributions.

          4.       Now coming back to our protest and replies there on by Circle administration, we would like to submit the reactions / suggestions of the entirety of postal employees and workers including GDS as follows.

5. The Para-wise replies given by Circle Office vide C O letter under reference ( iii) above are not at all convincing due to the following reasons.

i.             The order of the Circle Office under reference (ii) above for mandatory opening of DOP Salary Account with IPPB has been issued in the absence of any authority from the Postal Directorate and is a complete local decision taken arbitrarily without the knowledge of the Staff Side.

ii.            No other Circle in the entire nation except Odisha has any such proposal or movement so far.

iii.           As per instructions contained in Para – 2 of Directorate letter No.F.No.17-11/2017 (PIB), dated 07.08.2018 (2 years old)  attached to the reply given to us vide C O letter under reference (ii), opening of DOP Staff Salary Account is just a proposal of IPPB for wide publicity amongst the end users and super users for incentive purpose. Nowhere in the said letter it is instructed to be mandatory and thus, the instructions of the Directorate has been wrongly interpreted by the Circle administration.

iv.          While forcing the DOP employees for Staff Salary Account with IPPB, the administration did not think it wise to intimate us the number of employees of IPPB now taking their salary through IPPB Account to motivate our employees. As per information available with us not a single employee of the IPPB Ltd are taking salary through IPPB Account. It should be implemented first in IPPB Ltd. Even the officers who are running after this issue are far away from the policy.

v.           While comparing the facilities of POSB / Bank Account with IPPB Account, it is witnessed that most of the facilities now enjoyed by the Account holders of POSB / Bank Account are replied as  ‘can be done’, ‘will be ensured’, ‘can be registered’, ‘can be withdrawn’, ‘will be enable’ etc. with IPPB Account. It is just like to order to fire without gun and bullet. The employees should be free to choose his facilities as per his choice as as such his own bank.

vi.          While mentioning IPPB as our own Bank, the administration concealed the fact that India Post is a commission agent of IPPB Ltd. At all it is our own Bank, the differences in leave, salary, working hours, infrastructure and ambiences and nature of job in between the DOP employees and IPPB employees need to be clarified. The staff members of India Post are also interested to know the contribution of these highly paid IPPB personnel in motivating the general public for opening of accounts and other related issues. We are surprised that while employees of India Post are working day and night as COVID-19 warriors during this critical juncture of national pandemic, most of the IPPB officials/officers are enjoying in AC rooms and involved in instructing and dominating the DOP employees with the knowledge of the Circle administration. The Postal JCA has taken this aspect very seriously.

vii.         While replying to the Union, it is said that no bank in India allows their employees to have their salary account with any other banks. But Circle Office did not mention the reasons in this regard. All bank employees do avail extra benefits against their accounts than the normal customers, viz. heavy amount of personal loans and HBA with low rate of interest and low EMI and higher rate of interest on all deposits. Can the Circle administration gives any guarantee on behalf of the President of India for providing such facilities  to its employees?

viii.       Circle Office letter No. SB/53-1/COVID-19/2020, dated 04.05.2020 states, “The Divisional Heads will also submit a copy of the list of the DDOs for crediting the salary of the employees opted for IPPB (SBDOP) Account.” Thus, it is clear that salary will be credited provided the employee opts for this. But some Divisional Heads have crossed all limitations in threatening the staff members ignoring the above instruction of the Circle Office. Illustratively, we would like to say that SPOs, Sambalpur Division vide its letter No. E/R-13/Corr, dated 06.05.2020 has categorically threatened not to credit / payment of monthly salary / allowances henceforth in case of failure to open IPPB Account and linkage with POSB Salary Account. While Circle office is silent on issuing such instructions, may we know the reasons of such high-handedness of the SPOs, Sambalpur. Condemning the attitude of the SPOs, Sambalpur, the postal JCA is also categorical in this regard while intimating the sharp reactions of the staff members that incase of non-credit of the monthly salary and other benefits due to the above reason even for a single official in the Circle, the Staff Side will be forced to lunch appropriate agitational programme all on a sudden to protest the interest of its members.

ix.          While issuing the order for opening of DOP staff Salary Account with IPPB, the problems of GDS, single-handed SPMs and officials working in non-CBS offices under TNF locations are ignored. We don’t want to explain the technical deficiencies which are well-known to the administration. We are in doubt perhaps the IPPB personnel have concealed the fact to the Circle administration while giving the above reply to the Union that a single-handed SPM cannot deposit / withdraw in / from his own IPPB Account using his own ID due to technical error, “Employees Own Account. Transaction Not Allowed”. How can we ask someone to open IPPB Salary Account with such disadvantages?  

x.           As replied by Circle Office, no independent transaction can be completed alone by IPPB. Whatever is to be done is only through POSB linked Accounts only. While most of the officials are now taking their salary through POSB Accounts, then there is no need of linking it with IPPB Account which has low rate of interest. There is no need to compel the employees for continuous swipe in / swipe out, NEFT / RTGS etc. for which both the time period and amount are limited in IPPB Account.

xi.          It is the reaction and suggestion of the staff members that before compelling them for opening DOP Staff Salary Account with IPPB Ltd. because it is so good in all aspects as explained C O’s reply to the Union, the Department should close the Postmaster’s Account / Account of all DDOs (Sr. Postmaster / Head Postmaster) including DA(P) and other welfare fund accounts of Circle Office etc. now in Banks and open the same with IPPB for the betterment and promotion of IPPB Ltd.  The Staff Side expects a reply on the line.

xii.         While the COIVD-19 warriors of India Post are to be rewarded, the   staff members are quite disappointed with the mid 1800s approach of the administration to adopt ‘Carrot and Stick Policy’ which is nothing but a caricature to treat the rank and file as donkeys in order to get massive amounts of work out of them in exchange of very little reward. These dedicated workforce, now the COVID-19 warriors who are directly responsible for earning revenue for the department and working day and night sacrificing their own comfort and luxury and without caring for the health and future of their family members upholding the pride of this glorious department even during this critical juncture of corona national pandemic are highly discouraged with the above approach.

6. The reply given to the Postal JCA on opening of offices with 100% attendance during lockdown 3.0 vide Circle Office letter under reference ( iv ) completely violates the guidelines of the Directorate issued vide its letter No. Z – 92011 / 25 / 2020 – Coord / O & M, dated 04.05.2020 along with the letter of even number dated 25.03.2020 for the lockdown 3.0 from 04.05.2020 to 17.05.2020.  The plea taken by the administration that the purpose of rendering our services for the betterment of the nation as an essential service department will not be solved with 50% staff is not acceptable at all because of the following reasons.

i.             During lockdown 1.0 and 2.0 we have effectively served the nation with 50% staff of GPO, HO, MDGs to the satisfaction of the people of the entire state.

ii.            As officially recorded by Odisha Circle, by 20th April, 2020, we have performed 271019 transactions amounting to Rs.1148.95 crores during the lockdown period even with 50% staff on duty.

iii.           No serious public complaint is seen to be recorded for service deficiency during the lockdown period with 50% staff on duty.

iv.          Customers are seen to very cooperative with the limited staff members of the post offices.

v.            With 50% staff members, we have been able to maintain proper social distancing when supply of sanitizer, mask, hand gloves and other preventive materials is seen to be very scanty by the administration.

vi.          All the Divisions are fully engaged in distribution of dry food packets, preventive materials etc. to the needy persons in slums and unreachable areas.

vii.         100% attendance in offices as ordered will definitely affect the social distancing factor which is the last and only resort contain the spread of COVID-19.

7. It is quite unfortunate to witness that the Postmasters of the HOs have been ordered to attend a V C under the Chairmanship of the Chief PMG on 08.05.2020 at 11 AM through ZOOM App in their laptop or mobile. The administration is well aware that not a single Postmaster is officially supplied with any laptop or mobile nor even they are reimbursed with any monthly mobile vouchers for official use. Rather their personal mobile numbers are being added to different WhatsApp groups both by the Circle and Divisional administration without their consent. At the cost of their own data, own mobile and own money, the administration is exploiting these Postmasters severally by asking different official information and threatening for disciplinary action for non-compliance. There are several instances. Postal Assistants in Kalahandi Division have already been charge-sheeted and punished. We have taken up the issue separately.

          The Postal JCA doesn’t appreciate the above forceful activities of the Circle administration.

8. We have many other important pending issues to be intimated which though have been taken in several forums are yet to be settled.  We will write phase-wise.

9. Therefore, under the facts and circumstances, giving due honour to the reactions and rights of the staff members, we would like to request you to kindly consider the following issues immediately.

i.    Withdraw the Circle Office Order issued vide C O letter No. SB/53-1/COVID-19/2020, Dated 04.05.2020 for mandatory opening of DOP Staff Salary Account with IPPB immediately to avoid any legal complicacy in future.

ii.    Guide the Divisional Heads not to show their high-handedness like SPOs, Sambalpur Division and refrain from the negative attitude of non-credit of salary and other benefits in case of failure of the employees to open IPPB Account and link with IPPB Account.

iii.   Opening of IPPB Account and its linking with POSB Account for salary purpose should remain optional. No employee including GDS need to be forced in this regard either by the Divisional or Sub-Divisional Heads.

iv.   Guide the IPPB personnel not to be authoritative over the DOP employees and to visit post offices regularly for motivating and educating the end users / field staff and to solve their issues without confining themselves within the A C rooms.

v.   Ensure 50% attendance of officials in offices as before till the lockdown period is over as per Directorate/DoPT/MHA guidelines to maintain proper social distancing to contain spread of COVID-19.

vi.  Fix limited working hours of all Post and RMS Offices as done in other Circles keeping an eye to the daily increase in the number of affected / positive / death cases.

vii. Ask the Divisional Heads to assess the daily requirements of preventive materials in the post offices under their control and arrange immediate supply as per requirement. The ground reality is very alarming in this regard.

viii. Ask the Divisional heads to arrange for regular sanitization of post offices especially bigger offices facing unexpected crowds even during the lockdown period.

ix.  Arrange official supply of Laptops / Mobiles to Postmasters of Head Post Offices if it is required before ordering for V C or for any other purpose.

10. Further to intimate that if the above demands are not addressed properly at once, the Postal JCA, Odisha Circle has decided to adopt the following agitational programmes tentatively in protest against the above arbitrary and inhumane orders of the Circle Office.

i.    Wearing of black badges while on duty from 11th to 16th May, 2020.
ii.  Lunch hour protest demonstrations in workplaces on 12th May, 2020 maintaining the norms of social distancing as required.
iii.  One day Dharna Programme before Circle Office, Bhubaneswar soon after the lockdown is over where the future course of action for going on strike with all pending issues will be decided, if situation compels.

          A line of reply on the action taken is highly solicited at the earliest.

        With regards.
Yours faithfully,
(Raj Kishore Mohapatra)
Circle Secretary, P-III,
BPEF, Odisha 
(Manoj Ku Panigrahi)
Circle Secretary, P-III,
FNPO, Odisha 
(Bruhaspati Samal)
Circle Secretary, P-III
NFPE, Odisha 
(J Pradhan)
Circle Secretary, P-IV
 BPEF, Odisha 
(Lambodar Raut)
Circle Secretary, P-IV
 FNPO, Odisha 
(M C S Rao)
Circle Secretary, P-IV
NFPE, Odisha 
(S B Jena)
Circle Secretary
BEDEU, Odisha
(R N Pattnaik)
Circle Secretary, R-III
FNPO, Odisha
(Dusmanta Ku. Sethi)
Circle Secretary, R-III
NFPE, Odisha

(Syed Basha)
Circle Secretary, R-IV
FNPO, Odisha
(R N  Mohanty)
Circle Secretary, R-IV
NFPE, Odisha

(Goutam Das)
Circle Secretary
NUGDS, Odisha
(Kalinga Ku. Panda)
Circle Secretary
AIPAEA, Odisha

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