JOINT COUNCIL OF ACTION
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES
FEDERATION OF NATIONAL POSTAL ORGANIZATIONS
ALL INDIA POSTAL EXTRA DEPARTMENTAL EMPLOYEES UNION
NATIONAL UNION OF GRAMIN DAK SEVAKS
INDEFINITE STRIKE CALLED OFF
· No Closure of L2 Offices in RMS for the next three years
· No merger of Post Offices.... Only Relocation
Minutes of the meeting taken by Secretary (Posts) with Postal Joint Council of Action (JCA) on 10.01.2012, 12.01.2012 & 13.01.2012 on the charter of demands served with notice of indefinite strike with effect from 17.01.2012
In continuation of the meetings taken by respective Members of the Postal Services Boards on 27.12.2011 with the Postal Joint Council of Action (JCA) and to review the follow up action taken on various issues raised in the charter of demands, Secretary (Posts) took a meeting on 10.01.2012 starting at 11.00 Hrs in Dak Bhawan. A list of officers and officer bearers/members of JCA who attended the meeting may be seen at Annexure-1. The meeting started with welcome address of Secretary (Posts) and thereafter the issues raised in the charter of demands were taken up and the gist of discussions held during the course of the meeting is as follows.
1 (a) Mail Network Optimization Project
Attention of the staff side was drawn to the relevant part of the minutes of the meeting taken with JCA on 27.12.2011. Besides, with reference to the concern expressed by the staff side in the matter of high percentage of “Returned to Sender” (RTS) mail under Speed Post BNPL scheme, the staff side was informed that the existing provisions of the IPO Act do not confer any authority on the Department to charge from the customer in RTS cases. However the new tool under the project has enabled the Department realize the high instances of RTS mail and take up the issue with such customers. It was also informed that in order to address the problems relating to back routing of Speed Post, recently 21 new intra- Circle hubs have been created.
With respect to the proposed network redesign for the first class mail in terms of L1 and L2 mail offices, the Chairperson informed that the Project seeks to streamline core mail operations, expedite processing of mail and increase mail and parcel traffic. The Chairperson assured that L2 mail offices will not be closed for the next three years. L2 mail offices in metro cities (other than those in Delhi & Kolkata where AMPCs are under installation), will not be closed for the next two years. When AMPCs will be installed in these cities, the matter relating to consolidation of mail offices will be discussed with the staff Side. The staff side expressed its reservations about the proposed implementation plan for First Class mail in terms of its impact on closure of mail offices and transfer of staff. On the issue of change of administrative jurisdiction over Speed Post Centres/Sorting Hubs, the staff side was informed that instructions were issued to the circles earlier in this regard. From the report received from 20 circles, it is ascertained that 53 out of 87 Sorting Hubs are already functioning under the administrative control of an RMS Division. Proposal for change in administrative jurisdiction from Postal to RMS Division has been received from MP circle in case of two Sorting Hubs, which will be examined.
Minutes of the meeting dated 27.12.2011
Following issues were discussed in the meeting:
(i) Member (O) as Chairman explained that we need to constantly develop and improve our services. Staff side also supported and said that they are not against modernization of the department.
(ii) The Chairman agreed with the staff side that Heads of circles should honour the decision taken at apex level. He reiterated that the department doesn't want to close or change the public interface and sorting will be done by RMS staff.
(iii) Staff Side raised a number of issues of Maharashtra Circle. Since it was not possible to discuss the issues related to only one circle, it was decided to hold a separate meeting on the issues pertaining to Maharashtra Circle, some time later.
(iv) The Staff side expressed their apprehension about the implementation of network redesign for first class mail saying the L-2 mail offices will have very little mail to process and may lead to closure of these offices in future. They also expressed their apprehension that in urban areas and especially metro cities the merger may lead to closure of RMS Divisions. It was explained to the staff side that the Department would like to implement the new network design for first class mail with further assurance that no L-2 mail office will be closed till the completion of the MNOP Project. It was further assured that no staff will be transferred from one city to another unless some officials are themselves willing to move to bigger stations. It was also assured to staff side that the merger of mail offices will be put on hold in Mumbai and Chennai till the new sorting machines are in place.
(v) It was also informed that for the mail offices under the revised network, the Department is going to train the officials of the RMS to handle the new business . Training will also be given in areas of investigation of frauds and monitoring of frauds. It was also assured that in case the new network leads to any back routing of mail, the Department would be open to reassess the arrangements based on the volume of mail that is being back routed.
(vi) The Staff side pointed out that the orders issued by the Directorate vide No. 6-5/2011-D dated 20.10.2011 regarding the administrative control over speed post centres/sorting Hubs have not been implemented by the Circles.
(vii)The Chairman assured that Heads of Circles would be reminded to submit their compliance report on Directorate O.M. dated 20.10.2011 within a week's time. The same will also be monitored through Video Conference. It was decided to discuss this issue with Heads of Circles in the VC scheduled to be held on 12.01.2012.
(viii)Instructions regarding putting in complete address of the addressee in the system at the booking point have already been issued , but the same are not being followed in many circles. It was assured to reiterate the instructions.
(ix) The Chairman agreed for providing department transportation for the staff deployed at AMPC, Delhi to and from Dhaula Kuan. Suitable instructions have already been issued. to CPMG Delhi Circle.
1 (b) Closure/merger of Post offices
The staff side drew attention of the Chairperson to the variance that existed between what was minuted as a result of discussions held in June/July 2011 and what has been circulated amongst the Heads of Circle vide letter No. 40-6/2011-PLG(Pt.) dated 25.08.2011. The Contention of the staff side was that merger of a post office with another post office actually tantamount to closure of Post office to which they cannot agree. The matter regarding rationalization of Postal network was discussed. Staff side agreed that post offices may be shifted in cases of litigation and poor condition of buildings. Staff side also agreed that closure of post office should be accompanied by simultaneous relocation of the same to other areas. However, the staff side stated that there should not be temporary merger of Post offices. The matter was discussed and it was agreed that there was a need for rationalization of postal network instead of resorting to temporary merger of post offices, Circles will identify areas where new post offices are required and would also identify post offices that do not meet the norms and do not have sufficient work. Circles will submit a report to the Directorate for examination.
2(a) Grant of Central Civil Servants status to Gramin Dak Sevaks
Attention of the staff side was drawn to relevant portion of the minutes of the meeting held on 27.12.2011. In the matter of scrapping the new recruitment rules for promotion of Postmen, the staff side was explained the view point of Department of Personnel and Training regarding prescribing some minimum quota of direct recruitment element, all recruitments to be made at the level of either MTS or Postmen, and was asked to give suggestions in the light of the above for further consideration by the Department.
2(a) Grant of Central Government Civil Service Status to Gramin Dak Sevaks
Minutes dated 27.12.2011
The staff side was apprised of the background of instruction of EDA/GDS system in the Department of Posts, especially in the context of their conditions of engagement which are totally different from regular Government employees. Special mention was made about their part time nature of work and the additional source of income which were the basic conditions for their engagement. While commending the role of Garmin Dak Sevaks in the functioning of Department of Posts, Member (Personnel) as Chairperson of the committee explained to the staff side the improvements which have taken place in their engagement conditions over the years.
Minutes dated 10.01.2012
2 (b) In the matter of enhancement of bonus ceiling Gramin Dak Sevaks to Rs.3500/- the staff side was apprised of the position as reflected in the minutes of the meeting held on 27.12.2011. It was further made clear that as per decision taken in the meeting held with the staff side earlier, the matter was examined in consultation with Integrated Finance Wing where it failed to find favour.
2 (c) The issue of withdrawal of upward change in norms for cash handling etc. was decided to be relooked into, as per minutes of the meeting held on 27.12.2011. Further the issue of stopping reduction of TRCA in case of reduction of work load will be reviewed in the light of decision taken on the issue of norms for cash handling.
Minutes dated 27.12.2011
2(e) Withdrawal of tightened norms for cash handling
The Chairperson agreed to have a relook into the matter.
(NB: The basic issues such as Civil servant status, Bonus etc. will be further discussed in the Minister’s meeting)
2 (d) Compassionate appointment of GDS
The System of awarding marks for making compassionate appointment in case of GDS will be examined in the light of the proposal given by the staff side.
2 (c) Filling up of GDs Mailmen posts in RMS
As recorded in the minutes of the meeting held on 27.12.2011 the feasibility of redeployment of mail men posts in new areas eg. Employment in IAP areas will be examined.
The Staff side desired the following issues to be examined:
(a) supply of chappal (b) repairs/replacement of fans (c) review of cash conveyance allowance. It was agreed to look into these.
3. Revision of wages of casual labourers
The staff side was apprised that a committee had been constituted under the Chairpersonship of CPMG Assam Circle to look into the issues pertaining to casual labourers and it is likely to submit its report shortly. The staff side was advised to give additional inputs, if any, to the Committee which would be taken into account while finalizing the recommendations.
4. Revision of OTA rates
As recorded in the minutes of the meeting held on 27.12.2011, it was decided to examine the proposal keeping in view the OTA rates that are being observed in the Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Defence. The operational requirements of the Department were highlighted by the staff side which were duly appreciated during the discussions. In the matter of punishment of officials due to non performance of OTA duty, earlier instructions of the Department were reiterated on 09.01.2012 and the staff side was supplied a copy of it.
5. Implementation of assurance made on 12.07.2011
The following issues were discussed in the meeting:
(a) Counting of special pay to PO and RMS accountants by implementation of judgment of High Court of Karnataka.
The judgment of High Court of Karnataka in the matter of treating special allowance for fixation of pay etc. was quoted by the staff side with a request not to file an SLP in the matter particularly when the Ministry of Law and Justice opined against it. The staff side was informed on the action taken in the matter in the form of calling for relevant information from the circles to be examined in consultation with the Integrated Finance wing.
(b) Restriction on tenure posting in single/double handed Post offices.
The Staff side was informed that an order relaxing the restriction in the matter referred to above is under issue.
(c) Grant of Special allowance to unqualified Accountants.
It was informed that instructions already exist on the subject which would be got reiterated.
(d) Protection of pay of defunct PO and RMS Accountants
The Staff side requested to extension of benefits as decided in the case of Natha Singh, Punjab Circle. It was agreed to circulate the clarification given to Punjab Circle to the remaining circles also.
(e) Discontinue the fidelity Bond to SPM/Treasurers
The matter will be looked into.
(f) Arbitrary and forcible allotment of staff quarter
The view point of the staff side was well taken. It was informed that the information regarding vacant staff quarters lying in various circles had been called for in the light of which policy guidelines will be formulated covering inter alia forcible allotment of quarter including post attached quarters especially where such post attached quarters is outside the premises of the post office building, as pointed out by the staff side.
(g) Non supply of balance statement every year to officials covered under NPS.
The contention of the staff side was that the issuing of the balance statement to officials covered under New Pension Scheme was not being attended to with the result that they are not aware of details of their credits etc. The staff side also mentioned that in the earlier meeting, the Department made a commitment to start issuing balance sheet by 31.03.2011. In this context, the staff side was apprised of the issue of password to the members of the scheme which would be enable them to approach the main server for this purpose. Further instructions will also be issued for issue of balance statements to all members of the scheme.
(h) Enhancement of financial powers LSG, HSG II and HSG I
The matter is under examination.
(i) Recovery of over payment on account fixation of pay, and allowances to Postmen/bonus to GDSs
The view point of staff side was that recovery should not be made from the salary of APM Accounts/Accountants due to over payment made to Postmen in the process of implementation of Fifth Pay Commission recommendations. The Staff side however contended that the Department should have filed an SLP against the judgment of High Court to avoid making recoveries from the salary of APM Accounts/Accountants. Stressing on the point of making recoveries from Postmen’s salary who got over paid, it was stated that in case it was not possible, the excess paid amount should be got written off.
The Staff side apprised the Secretary that huge amounts are being recovered from Accountants/APM Accounts and, therefore, requested her to decide the cases from humanitarian angle. Secretary assured that the matter will be examined in Directorate.
(j) Honorarium for invigilators engaged in Departmental Examinations
The matter is already under process for considering enhancing the honorarium.
(k) Allowing the physically handicapped candidates for appearing in IPOs examinations
The Staff side was informed that the matter has been taken up with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment the nodal Ministry for the purpose. All information required by the nodal Ministry has been supplied and the matter is being favourably considered.
(l) Grant of cash handling allowance to PO Treasurers at par with Cashiers and the grant of allowance to all irrespective of their position in MACP
The matter regarding bringing Treasurers at par with Cashiers will be examined. As regards payment of cash allowance to Treasurers irrespective of benefit extended under MACP, the issue has been the subject matter of a Committee appointed for examination of various allowances in the Department and report of the committee is under examination.
(m) Holding of Department council (JCM) meetings.
The staff side was assured of holding of timely Departmental Council (JCM) and periodical meetings. It was decided that the meetings would be held regularly beginning from February 2012. The Staff side made a suggestions for having a standing committee meeting before holding of the Departmental Council meeting and the suggestion was agreed to. The meeting of the standing committee will be held prior to the Department Council meeting (JCM).
6. Immediate finalization of cadre restructuring
As recorded in the minutes of the meeting held on 27.12.2011 the proposal is under consideration of a Committee under the Chairmanship of DDG (P). The staff side expressed their concern about undue delay in finalization of the proposal on which the Chairperson desired finalization of this process by 31st March 2012. It was assured that the time lines would be adhered to. As regard restructuring of Postal Accounts officials, it was informed that the proposal was cleared by JS&FA and stands referred to Secretary (Posts). It was also decided to have separate committee under the Charipersonship of Ms. Sandhya Rani, PMG (BD), Andhra Pradesh Circle with Director (MV) as the other official member and S/Shri Giriraj Singh and D. Theagarajan as staff side members, to consider cadre restructuring of MMS Staff. The Committee will submit its report within three months from the date of formation.
7. Decentralisation of PLI/RPLI
The staff side was explained in detail about the competition being faced by the Department in the field of PLI/RPLI and the benefits to be derived by decentralizing the functions. The staff side expressed apprehension about relocation of staff due to the process of decentralization. Member (PLI) explained as to how the role of DPLI was going to be redefined by making the job more productive and the fact that job description for each category of staff had been worked out and the staff of PLI will play an important role in increasing the business and providing after sale service. The request of the staff side to permit the Circle/Regional Office branch of PLI to accept, process and service the policies relating to their Headquarter cities where they were located was accepted to.
The issue relating to payment of incentive though not discussed in the meeting will be examined by CGM PLI as it form a part of Charter of Demands.
8. Filling up of all vacant posts including GDS posts.
The Staff side was informed of the mass scale recruitment of regular employees made in the year 2010-11. The staff side was further apprised of the suitable instructions regarding filling up of GDS Posts issued by the Department vide letter No. 17-103/2007-GDS dated 17.02.2011. The instructions were reiterated vide letter of even number dated 06.01.2012. in regard to the proposal of the staff side to redeploy of 2/3 posts for the period up to 2008 kept in skeleton, it was informed that the posts were decided to be abolished by an Inter Ministerial Committee and hence it was not possible to redeploy the same.
9. Ensure 100% filling up LSG, HSG – 2, HSG -1 promotional posts before implementation of Post Masters cadre. Eligibility of Post Masters cadre official for appearing in IPOs/PSS Group ‘B’ examination as also the accounts line officials.
The staff side was explained of the difficulty in filling up of HSG I posts on regular basis due to non finalization of revised rules of recruitment. It was also assured that the matter will be taken up with UPSC, to finalise the same on priority. As regards, filling up of LSG & HSG-II Posts, the staff side was apprised that the instructions were issued to all the circles to fill up vacant posts. This was subsequently followed up by a DO reminder from Member (Personnel) also. As regards, eligibility of officials for Postmaster cadre to appear in the IPs/PSS Group ‘B’ examination, it was decided to reexamine the issue. The eligibility of POs/RMS accounts officials for opting for Post Master cadre will also be considered.
10. Creation of a separate cadre for System Administrators
The issue is a part of the subject matter being considered by Cadre Restructuring Committee. The staff side explained in details the nature of duties of System Administrators which inter alia include acting as a trainer and demanded for grant of travel allowance as per SR 25 and Road Mileage in the event of their moving out of station. The Committee has given its recommendations. Appropriate orders will be issued shortly.
11 (a) Combination of beats/double duty, stop harassment of staff by insisting on 100% delivery under Project Arrow etc.
As a follow up of the minutes recorded for the meeting of 27.12.2011, the composition of the committee which was appointed to consider issues relating to Postmen was revised and an order to this effect was issued on 09.01.2012. The Committee has been given one month time to submit its recommendations.
The Staff side expressed their concern about supply of good quality uniforms and other kit items.
The following decision were taken in this regard:
(a) A proposal will be sent to the Department of Personnel & Training to revise the rates of uniforms, kit items etc. which were fixed in the year 2002.
(b) A clarification will be sought from the DOP&T on the rate of trouser cloth fixed at Rs. 86 per meter and then linking it up with the DGS&D rate contract.
(c) Replacement of umbrella with rain coat for Postmen appeared to be justified and will be taken up with DO P&T.
12. Fixing norms for newly assigned works of Multi Tasking Scheme (MTS). Allow to decline Postmen promotion for MTS under seniority quota without loosing MACP promotion:
The duties to be performed by MTS have been clearly defined by the Department. The issue of allowing MTS to decline promotion to Postmen cadre under seniority quota without loosing MACP promotion will be looked into.
13. Grant of promotion to Drivers/Artisans at par with Railways/Defence.
The view point of the staff side was that MMS Drivers are plying heavy vehicles with more onerous responsibilities that staff car drivers and therefore they should be compared with drivers of the transport departments. The Chairperson agreed to examine the issue in details keeping in view the practice followed in Ministry of Railways and Defence, State transport or any other Government department where drivers have to drive similar vehicles.
As regards artisans, the staff side was apprised of the sincere efforts already made by the department in consultation with Ministry of Finance. The proposal did not find favour on the grounds that the cadre of charge hand stands merged with that of Artisan Grade-I. However, it was agreed to have a further relook into the issue.
14. Declare SBCO staff as divisional cadre and stop harassment under Contributory factors.
The existing system of transfer of SBCO staff for rotational transfer within the cluster of divisions will be reiterated. In exceptional circumstances Director HQrs., in consultation with AO/ICO (SB) may consider movement of officials outside the cluster. As regards the issue of recovery under contributory negligence factors the proposal of the staff side will be examined.
15. Filling up of Civil Wing Posts
CE (Civil) was asked by the Chairperson to initiate urgent action to fill up all vacant posts. The staff side raised question of lapse of a number of posts due to these remaining vacant for more one year. CE (Civil) informed that the proposal for revival of all those posts was referred to DDG (Establishment).
As regards creation of new offices of Civil Wing the staff side was informed that it would not be feasible.
The demand for transfer of existing staff within jurisdiction of the Postal circle, the staff side was informed that there were very limited number of posts in Civil Wing and even out of these around 40% posts were lying vacant and, therefore, it was not feasible to examine the proposal. However the position will be reviewed when all the administrative posts in the Civil Wing are filled up. The staff side brought to the notice of the Chairperson the need for restructuring of Civil Wing cadres and finalization of the pending rules of recruitment. It was agreed to pursue the same on priority.
16. Functioning of Postal Accounts offices
It was explained to the staff side that DAP offices in Guwahati and Shillong, have been established. The question of providing facilities for the staff Raipur will be looked into by DDG (PAF). As regard Uttarakhand and Jharkhand, the proposal will be examined after introduction of technology.
The question of grant of Group ‘B’ Non-Gazetted status to Senior Accountants will be considered as per the decision made by the other organized accounts cadres.
It was agreed to take action on priority for filling up of accounts posts in Postal Accounts Wing. The question of discrimination in promotion against the MTS officials to the cadre of LDCs after 2006 including the seniors in the Sorting cadre will be examined. The staff side was also apprised that at present there is no proposal to decentralize the Postal Accounts.
17. Counting of past service as RTPs for promotion and MACP
In the light of the Supreme Court judgment on the subject, there is no scope for further examination of the proposal.
18. Implementation of apex court judgement in case of Relaxed Rules of Recruitment (RRR) candidates.
The judgment of the apex court has been implemented in letter and spirit which clearly state that this should not be treated as precedent for the purpose of any other case or cases. In view of the above there is no further scope of re-examining the matter.
19. Stop victimizing under contributory negligence factor.
The Chairperson explained to the staff side that it would not be possible to issue any sweeping order in the matter as each case needs to be decided on its merits and the competent authority while disposing of the matter does take into account all the relevant factors including involvement of the official and the appellate channels are available.
20. Stop discrimination towards PO & RMS Accounts Cadre.
It was decided to refer the matter to the committee constituted for cadre restructuring for examination.
21. Enhancement of LR strength
It was not found possible to enhance the LR strength as demanded by the staff side.
22. Ensure prompt grant of Child Care Leave
Suitable instructions in this regard already stand issued.
23. Review of MACP clarificatory order and rectify the issues like non-drawal of special allowance etc.
The issue was referred to the Committee constituted on allowances. The committee has submitted its report which is under consideration in the Department. It was agreed to issue the following clarifications:
(a) Grant of MACP will not be deferred on the ground of contemplated disciplinary/vigilance proceedings.
(b) Instructions on review of ACRs/APARs by screening committees will be reiterated.
(c) Recovery ordered by DAP in AP and West Bengal Circles in the matter of pay fixation on MACP in case of MTS is being looked into.
(d) Cases relating to declining promotion prior to issue of MACP order (prior to 2009) would be examined and appropriate orders issued.
24. Drop FR 17-A etc.
The staff side was apprised of liquidation of arrears in the matter of Rule 9 (Pension Rules) disciplinary cases with further clarifications that all out efforts are being made to clear the pendency. As regards imposing of FR 17A, the staff side was explained that the Department’s instructions on the subject provide for involving the said provisions only in case of incitement, violence etc. the instructions were reiterated on 09.01.2012.
25. Legitimate right to avail holidays etc.
The staff side expressed their serious concern about deputing of officials at odd hours in the name of organizing melas etc. Instances were brought to the notice when officials were called as late as 8 to 9 pm and 1.30AM for holding meetings/melas etc. Special mention was made by the staff side about Karnataka Circle. It was agreed to call for a report from the Karnataka Circle based on which suitable action will be taken.
In view of the detailed discussions held and decisions taken, the staff side was requested to call off the proposed strike.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the Chair.