I have been going through the old journals and records of NFPTE in preparation for writing some articles on the P and T Trade Union history. National Federation of P and T Employees was formed on 24th November 1954, by merging all the unions of the Class III and Class IV employees in the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. The structure was this way: 9 All India Unions, one union each for the class III and Class IV employees in Postal, RMS, Telegraph Engineering ( Telephones) and Telegraph Traffic and one for the P and T employees working in the administrative office of the Post Master General. (PMG both for Posts and Telegraphs). All the 9 All India Unions were compulsorily affiliated to NFPTE. Since this was under a Realignment Scheme agreed by both Unions and Department, recognition was granted to all the unions and Federation with the condition that no new unions will be formed, affiliated or recognised. Certain aspects of the then functioning are given below:
- All the Unions and Federation were accommodated in the same (rented ) building named P and T House, 9, Pusa Road, New Delhi.
- Regular meetings of the Federal Executive were held.
- Monthly journal/s were published by the Federation and All India Unions.
- Federal Council and All India Conferences were regularly held annually and Office-bearers elected. Interestingly, there seemed to be contest in elections in almost all Federal Councils.
- The Statement of Receipts and Payments as also the quota received from the hundreds of Branch Unions were regularly published in the monthly journals.
- The deliberations of the Working Committee Meetings / Federal Executives as also All India Conferences / Federal Council, were reported in detail, with the issues discussed, the opinion expressed by each office-bearer/ member/delegates, the decisions arrived etc. enabling the reader to clearly understand the different view points and the speakers who expressed, what opinions etc.
- There were regular reports about the Parliament debates with regard to the P and T matters, some times verbatim, ( there was separate budget for P and T, just like the Railways). Reports on the trade union movements in various countries, regular report of the PTTI (Posts, Telegraph, Telephone International), articles on trade unions and socialism by well known trade union leaders, tour report of the leaders, Readers views, minutes of the meetings with the government and Department etc. were published in full with the names of the participants. The correspondence with the government and the replies was a regular feature.
- These monthly journals were printed in very small types having about 40 pages or more. I was surprised how there was time for the office-bearers to go through the proof ( only hand composing at that time, which have to be gone through more than once) and correct it. Despite this, I could hardly find any mistake.
- There was sustained fight against victimisation of leaders and workers. Even all India leaders were not spared.
- The President of almost all the unions and Federation were mostly trade union leaders who are Members of Parliament. This enabled effective discussion in the parliament on the issues of P ant and its workers.
In fact, such systematic functioning of NFPTE and affiliated Unions strengthened them. It is not surprising that other service unions at that time viewed NFPTE as a role model.