Rural postal employees across the country have been protesting for eight days, but the Narendra Modi-led central government seems to have turned a blind eye to their concerns
The Union Government had constituted a one-man Kamlesh Chandra Committee in the Seventh Pay Commission to study the wage structure of the rural postal employees and review and suggest changes in existing wage structures, facilities and other social security benefits provided to them.
The committee, had in its report, recommended the minimum wage of the rural postal officers be made ₹10,000 and a maximum of ₹35,480, the abolition of the 50 years age limit, an annual hike of 3% and a children’s education allowance of Rs 6,000 per annum. They had introduced a risk and hardship allowance of ₹500 per month for those working in the special areas. The Committee had increased the ex-gratia gratuity to ₹5,00,000 from ₹60,000, while also suggesting that the scope of the Circle Welfare Fund (CWF) scheme should include immediate family members.
“The government has been offering nothing to us. So, we are going to continue with the indefinite protest,” says P Pandurangarao, the General Secretary of AIPEU-GDS.
The government has been stating that they require at least three months to implement the suggested reforms. “But when they have done nothing in the past 18 months, we have no confidence in them anymore and that’s why we have demanded it in writing,” says Pandurangarao. “But they have refused,” added Pandurangarao.
“Even though we are government employees, our life is worse than daily-wage labourers,” says Pandurangarao, adding “we get no subsidies, no benefits and have no choice but to survive with a meagre salary. The government does not even provide us with basic facilities such as a house for an office or the electricity bill. It’s the head Post Master’s responsibility to arrange for a place for the ‘Dak Ghar’ (Post Office)”