CHAPTER – 20
BIRTH OF NFPTE
Since 1953 onwards events took a turn. The U.P.T.W under the leadership of Com.K.Ramamurti was already relentlessly trying for realignment and Shri.Dalvi, leader of the Postmen Union was also ever in favour of realignment and establishment of one organization of P&T workers. The All India Conference of the U.P.T.W which met at Nagpur from the 25th to 30th October, 1953, was attended by Shri.Dalvi and Shri. W.B.Kulkarni, a representative from Bombay branch of the Telegraph Traffic Staff Association (Ministerial). In the open session of the Conference there was thread-bare discussion on realignment and a decision was taken to begin with effecting realignment with renewed vigour. The All India Telegraph Union which was all through giving stubborn opposition to any unity move ceased to do so since the headquarters was transferred to Delhi and Shri. P.S.R.Anjaneyulu became the General Secretary, who in right earnest began working for unity move. Shri.Birendra Nath Ghosh .M.A.B.L., General Secretary of the All India Postal and R.M.S.Union in consultation with a section of its members who were in favour of some sort of realignment, came out for negotiation . Com. Ramamurti was already ever ready for negotiation with all. Com.Ramamurti and Shri. Birendranath Ghosh with a view to laying down the background for realignment, entered into a bilateral agreement which is as follow:
“The Union of Post and Telegraph Workers and the All India Postal and R.M.S. Union are of the opinion that a united front of the P&T Workers can best be formed by mutual agreement between the Unions themselves, and that the pattern of such unity should be of the nature of establishment of autonomous sectional Unions and a Federation of such sectional Unions. The end in view can be achieved by transforming the Union of Post and Telegraph Workers as a Federation to which the Sectional Unions shall be compulsorily federated.
“The All India Postal and R.M.S.Union and the Union of Post and Telegraph Workers are, further, of the opinion that, with a view to enable practical realization of the objective, and expedite the building up of such unity, it will be advisable to initiate the transformation of the UPTW as a federation in stages it not forthwith, achieve unity in each and thus ultimately convert the UPTW as a full-fledged federation.
“In pursuance of the above programme of establishing a united front of the P&T workers, the All India Postal and R.M.S Union and the Union of Post and Telegraph Workers agree that, with effect from in schedules I,II and III by the appropriate bodies of the two unions (1) the UPTW shall function as a Federation in respect of the All India Postal and RMS Union and as a Union in respect of other Sections and (2) the All India Postal & R.M.S Union shall function as a Union federated with the U.P.T.W.
“On conclusion of settlement with other Unions, the U.P.T.W shall function progressively as a Federation and ultimately convert itself as a full-fledged Federation.
“In token of the above terms of agreement arrived at subject to rectification by appropriate bodies we affix our signature below on the 9th April 1954 at New Delhi.”
Sd/- (K.RAMAMURTHI) SD/- (BIRENDRA NATH GHOSH)
Secretary General General Secretary,
Union of Posts and Telegraph Workers All India Postal & R.M.S Union
(Central headquarters) Camp- Delhi 9/4/54
The main defect of the above agreement was that it was signed by signatories in their personal capacity. None of them had even consulted their Working Committee before negotiating, drafting and signing the agreement. Members of those Unions expressed their surprise at reading the contents of the agreement. According to many, had this agreement been implemented , it would have resulted in fully rebuilding the All India Postal and R.M.S.Union and liquidation of U.P.T.W at the same time, it was doubtful if the very name U.P.T.W would have survived as the name of the Federation while another Federation duly recognized by the Government was already in existence.
The Working Committee of the U.P.T.W met in Kali Bari, New Delhi from the 15th April, 1954 under the Presidentship of Com. B.N.Ghosh to discuss the Ramamurthi-Biren Ghosh agreement on realignment. The Working Committee however adopted a resolution recommending ratification of the agreement to the Supreme Council, but it was the Government’s schemes on realignment are out which were in the offing.
During the pendency of the Working Committee meeting, I as President of the U.P.T.W had the occasion to lead two deputations of the Working Committee members to the Hon’ble Minister, Shri. Jagjiwan Ram and to the Director General, Shri. H.L.Jerath. The deputation had general discussion on realignment and there was general agreement almost on all points. It was declared by the Hon’ble Minister that those of the Unions which will not join the realignment scheme of the Government will not be allowed to enroll new members and they would die their natural death. Shri. H.L.Jarath also repeated the same thing.
During April, May and June 1954, the different Unions had series of discussions amongst themselves and also with Government and on the basis of those discussions ultimately the Government’s proposal on realignment of Unions were released vide D.G.P&T letter No.SPA-351-20/47 dated 2-7-1954.
The Director General of Posts and Telegraphs realignment proposals as contained in his letter No. SPA.351-20/47 dated the 2nd July 1954 were as follows;
“With a view to enable the representatives of the staff to associate themselves with the administration and with a view to provide a suitable machinery for discussions of subjects concerning general policy and the welfare of the staff, the question of realignment of all the existing Unions was mooted in 1948 and discussed in a conference. Not much head way could, however, be made then. Fresh attempt were made in 1951, when the matter was again discussed but had to be given up as a complete agreement could not be reached. A renewed attempt was made early this year and a scheme of realignment was circulated to the Unions to elicit their opinion. Replies received have been very encouraging and show that a majority of them have expressed in favour of the scheme outlined by Government. Government have, therefore, felt that the time has now come to realign the Unions on these lines:-
(a) There shall be:
(1) One All India Union of Class III employees (excluding postmen etc.) of the Postal arm of service. This will be called “The All India Postal Employees Union –Class III.”
(2) One All India Union of Postmen (employees of allied cadres ) and Class IV employees of the Postal arm of service. This will be called “The All India Postal Employees Union Postmen and Class IV”.
(3) The All India Union of Class III employees (excluding Mail Guards etc.) of the R.M.S arm of service. This will be called “The All India R.M.S Employees Union –Class III”.
(4) One All India Union of the Mail guards etc. and the Class IV employees of the R.M.S service. This will be called “The All India R.M.S Employees Union Mail Guards and Class IV.”
(5) One All India Union of Class III Employees of the Telegraph Traffic arm of Service. This will be called “The All India telegraph Traffic Employees Union-Class III.”
(6) One All India Union of Class IV employees of the telegraph Traffic arm of service. This will be called “The All India Telegraph Traffic employees Union –Class IV.”
(7) One All India Union of Line Staff and Class III employees (excluding Line staff) of the Telegraph Engineering arm of service. This will be called “The All India Telegraph Engineering Employees Union Class III.”
(8) One All India Union of Line staff and Class IV employees of the Telegraph Engineering arm of service. This will be called “The All India Telegraph Engineering Employees Union –Line staff and Class IV.”
(9) On All India Association of the employees of all administrative offices (including T.R.A.Os.) This will be called “The All India administrative Offices Employees Association –Class III&IV.”
(B) There will be corresponding Branches at the circle and Divisional levels except in the case of the All India Administrative Offices Association which will function as on All India Association only. The All India bodies alone will form into a Federation. The Federation will be called the National Federation of Posts and Telegraphs Employees.
(1) The Question of formation of Unions for Industrial Workers and a federation for such Unions will be dealt with separately.
(2) The new Unions except those referred to above will not be recognized by Government hereafter. There will be only one Federation. The Unions which accepted the realignment scheme will be deemed to have surrendered their recognition automatically. Affiliation shall not be denied to any legally constituted local Union.
(3) The constitution of the realigned All India Unions and the Federation will follow the lines of democratic organizations, broad details of which are given in the annexures. The Constitution of the Unions at the circle and Division levels will be formed by the Federation.
(4) The Federation shall not have the powers to disaffiliate or expel any Union. The Federating Units shall not have the right to secede from the Federation.
(5) The questions of disposal of assets and liabilities etc. of the existing Unions would be left to the Unions to decide between themselves in consultation with the members by a majority of vote after re-elections take place.
(C) No Union should take up individual cases.
(D) All the Unions will have almost an identical Constitution. An outline of the Constitution for the Federation and each of the All India Unions referred to in para (A) above is appended.
(E) The Unions will function under democratic principles as broadly indicated in the annexures. The Federation shall have no power of interference in the internal management of the Unions except in so far as may be specified in the Constitution and /or invited to do so by the affiliated Unions.
2. Channel of communications: All the nine All India Unions and the Federation shall have the right of representation to the Director General. In case of disagreement with the D.G, the Federation will have the right to represent the matter to the Minister of Communications through Director General. At the Circle level all the Circle branches of the Unions will correspond with the Head of the circle. At the Divisional level only the Divisional Branch of the Union will correspond with the Divisional Heads. Other local branches in a Divisional unit, if any, will correspond with the Divisional Head only through the main Divisional branch of the Union.
3. In order that this scheme may be implemented without loss of time it has been agreed that the Realignment scheme should start from the Divisional levels. The Branch Secretaries of all the present unions may form an ad-hoc body to conduct the elections to form the realigned Unions in a Divisional Unit. If the Unions so desire the service of the Director, Postal Services concerned would be made available to them to act as a Chairman to this body for the first election purpose only. These elections will be held within two months of the announcement of the Scheme by Government. With in the third month all the newly formed branch Unions may elect their representatives to the Provincial bodies. The Circle Secretaries of the Circle Bodies of all the present Unions may form an ad-hoc body at the Circle level and will supervise the elections of the branches. If desired the head of the Circle would be made available to act as Chairman of this body for election purpose only.
4. An ad-hoc body will also be formed at the All India level consisting of the General Secretaries of all the existing Unions and they may draft and give such directions on the majority of votes as may be suitable to the Circle ad-hoc bodies in regard to the conduct of the elections under the Scheme. The Senior Deputy Director General will be made available if desired to act as Chairman to this ad-hoc body.
4(a). The ad-hoc bodies at the different levels would decide on the disposal of the assets and liabilities of existing Unions.
5. The election for the All India bodies under the Realignment Scheme should be finalized within three months of the formation of the new Provincial Bodies under the Scheme. For preparing the electoral rolls of all the members of the existing Unions in a Division/CTO/DTO, each union will be asked to intimate in writing the names of its members belonging to each arm of service to the Director, Postal services who will then draw up an amalgamated list of officials of each arm. They will then elect their office bearers. Those who were not members of any union on 1-7-54 will not take apart in the elections.
6. Simultaneously with the formation of the All India bodies, the Federation will also be formed on the lines the Constitution indicated in the annexure to this Circular.
7. During the interval and until the realigned Unions are formed at the Circle and Central levels, the ad-hoc bodies will manage the affairs as the duly constituted managing body of the realigned Unions. At the branch levels amalgamation of membership will take place immediately after the elections.
8. After the realignment is implemented, officials of one arm of the service will be eligible to join the recognized realigned Union of that arm only.
9. The process of implementation of the Realignment Scheme, referred to in para 1 above will commence from 1st August 1954. Election to the Divisional bodies, Circle bodies, the All India Bodies and the Federation may if possible be completed by 1st October 1954 at the latest to synchronize with the All India Postage Stamps Centenary celebrations and the inauguration of the International Stamp cum Postal Exhibition.
10. I may mention that it has been my cherished desire to associate the workers in the administration of this great public utility department. This whole-hearted co-operation of the majority of the Unions has offered me an opportunity to fulfill the mission of my service in the Department. I do hope that the P&T Unions and the staff will now enthusiastically implement these instructions in the larger interest of the staff so that the next step of establishing Whitley Councils may be taken up.”
Sd/- H.L.Jerath DIRECTOR GENERAL
My reaction on the D.G’s circular found its way in the form of the stirring appeal appearing in “The Telepost” of July, 1954, which runs as follows:
“The long expected scheme of Government on realignment of P&T Unions is now before us. There is no denying the fact that much to our satisfaction, the scheme has envisaged a democratic procedure for affecting unification of numerous unions into a single Federation of nine Unions without the right of secession by the constituent units. But there are many loop-holes which are likely to defeat the very object of the prospects which has reached this present stage after hard endeavour of six long years by all the Unions in existence, under constant pressure and urge from their mass of general membership. The task before us today is not to reject the scheme straightaway, but to make further effort for improvement of the scheme through joint effort of all Unions and their general members who, and not the Government, hold the key for achieving unity by minimizing the number of unions and for compelling all to come under the banner of the Federation.
”On behalf of the Union of Posts and Telegraph Workers, I earnestly appeal to the leaders of all P&T Unions to take stock of the present situation , rise to the occasion and make every possible endeavor to bring unification of the Unions on a permanent basis through this scientific process of realignment under a rigid Federation. I earnestly appeal to the P&T workers in general and members of all the Unions in particular, to rise the occasion and exert themselves so that the unity move materializes and the legitimate demands for security of service, establishment of full trade union rights and other rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India are fully realized through the common single machinery to be established.
“I appeal to all unions to take immediate steps to call forthwith at a common place the meeting of Central executives of all Unions for the purpose , take a collective decision and approach the Government.”
The All India Telegraph Union at its meeting held at Bombay on the 16th July 1954 accepted the Government’s realignment scheme with certain reservations.
The Supreme Council of the U.P.T.W which was held in the Free Masons Hall, Janpath, New Delhi, from the 5th to 8th September 1954 was presided over by me. There was a proposal moved by Shri. B.P.Chatterjee for having one Union of Postal and R.M.S.Workers and another proposal was moved for continuance of the U.P.T.W. Both the proposals were rejected by the House. From the Chair I read the resolution regarding acceptance of Government’s proposals for realignment which was approved by all amidst cheers.
September 1954 was loaded with history. Union after union was marching along a straight road to broader form of unity by accepting the proposal for realignment. Shortly after the All India Postmen & Lower Grade Staff Union at a meeting held at Delhi accepted the realignment scheme. And during September almost all the major unions accepted the scheme and surrendered their recognition.
Consequently, the Government vide their Memo No. SPA.351-20/47 dated 18-10-1954 withdrew recognition of the following unions:-
1. Union of Posts and Telegraph Workers.
2. All India Postal and R.M.S union.
3. All India Postmen and Lower Grade Staff Union.
4. All India Telegraph Union.
5. All India Telephone & Telegraph Engineering Union.
6. All India Telegraph Workmen’s Union.
7. All India Telegraph Line staff Union.
8. Federation of P&T Unions.
In view of the agreement concluded by the Telegraph Traffic Staff association (Ministerial) with the Unions which had accepted Government realignment scheme on the Telegraph Traffic side, the right of entertaining references and other privileges appertaining there to granted to them was also withdrawn vide the same memo of Government.
Just with the withdrawal of recognition of the Unions, ad hoc committees were formed at the Central, Circle and local levels to function during the interim period. It was originally decided that realignment would take place on the 1st October, the Postage Stamp Centenary date but as some of the Unions were still thinking as to whether to accept the realignment or not, matters were delayed. The All India Telephone Revenue Offices Union came later on to join the realignment scheme, and the Central body of the All India Administrative Offices Employees Association did not join although the branch unions in most of the places expressed their desire to join the realignment scheme.
It must be admitted in this connection without any hesitation that Com.K.Ramamurthi, Secretary General of the U.P.T.W acted as the high-priest in working for bringing the realignment scheme into reality and most of the credit goes to him. Other Union’s leaders joining the realignment scheme had also contributed largely towards its implementation. Shri.V.G.dalvi since 1948 onwards had always worked for bringing the realignment scheme into reality and thereby set a new era in the field of P&T trade union movement.
According to the schedule time prescribed the All India Ad Hoc Committee held all the All the India Conference of all realigned Unions at Vinaynagar, New Delhi from the 21st to 24th November 1954 to complete formation of the nine Unions and the National Federation of P&T Employees.
The Joint session of the nine All India Conferences of the realigned P&T Unions was held at Vinaynagar, New Delhi at 5 pm on Sunday the 21st November 1954 to mark the fulfillment of the long cherished desire for establishing one organization for the entire P&T Employees in India. One thousand delegates representing three lakhs of P&T workers mustered strong in the Conference to give their verdict in favour of establishing nine All India Unions compulsorily federated in the “National Federation of P&T Employees “which was also unheard in the into existence during the pendency of the Conference. The deliberations of this great assemblage were conducted by a presidium consisting of Sarbasree Dewan Chamenlal , Rohini Roy , Harin Shah, Bhupendra Nath Ghosh and Mrs. Nayama Haider.
This grand assembly was inaugurated by Shri.Jagjivan Ram, Minister for Communications , who in his inaugural address, expressed heartfelt satisfaction to see the long cherished dream for P&T Unity coming into reality.
The members of the presidium one after the other addressed the conference. Shri.B.N.Ghosh in the course of his address thanked the authorities and the workers for working together in bringing the realignment scheme into a reality.
Shri.Ramamurti in the course of his speech offered his warmest tributes to the martyrs and warriors of the P&T trade union movement and thanked the authorities for helping the unions in bringing about the realignment.
Shri.V.G.Dalvi, Shri.G.C.Khanna Shri.Dholoo Ram , Shri.Harminder Singh Shri.P.S.R.Anjaneyulu Shri.P.S.Mukherjee and Shri. Basant Singh, the General Secretaries of the realigning unions also spoke. The session terminated amidst loud cheers of “Long Live P&T Workers Unity.”
Thereafter the nine All India conferences were held separately from the 22nd to 24th November 1954 under the Presidentship of Sarbasree G.P.Gopal, B.N.Ghosh, Ambika Prasad, M.A.Jabbar, Baldev Prasad Srivastava, Rohini Roy, K.G.Bose, C.P.Venkataraman, and Mrs. Nayama Haider. Lively scenes were noticed in all the nine Conferences.
The nine Conferences adopted constitutions of the respective nine Unions, elected office bearers and one hundred Federal Councillors. Thus nine autonomous Unions came into existence.
On 24th November 1954 at 4.30 P.M one hundred Federal Councillors representing the nine federating Unions met at Vinayanagar, New Delhi under the Chairmanship of Veteran P&T Union Leader, Shri.K.S.Pitkar.
Shri.K.Ramamurti moved the following resolution:
“This meeting of the Federal Councillors representing realigned P&T Unions resolves that the National Federation of P&T Employees be hereby established on this day, the 24th November, 1954.”
The resolution was seconded by Shri. G.P.Gopal and carried unanimously.
Thus the National Federation of P&T Employees came into being.
The Council adopted a constitution and elected the following office bearers:-
Shri.V.G.Dalvi, Bar-at-Law President
Mrs.Nayama Haider, M.L.C Vice President
Shri.K.S.Pitkar Vice President
Shri.B.N.Ghosh Secretary General
Shri. Makhan singh Treasurer
From the 25th November, 1954 onwards the Federation and the nine federating Unions simultaneously began functioning. The Nine Unions already stood recognized and the recognition of the Federation was yet to be got from the Government. The Federation on the 14th of December applied to the D.G.P&T for grant of recognition.
After a hard struggle of long 30 years the P&T workers of India were able to set up a single organization in the shape of the National Federation of P&T Employees which sprang up through the will and determination of nine All India Unions to federate—never to secede nor ever to be expelled but to work for the benefit of the workers as a perpetual monument.
On assuming the charge, I issued the following statement under the caption “Tasks Ahead”:-
“The immediate task before the National Federation of P&T Employees which represent two lakhs and fifty thousand workers of the great public utility department is to educate each and every one of the workers as to how to increase efficiency of the Department-motto being “service Before Self”- and to consolidate and co-ordinate the activities of the federating Unions in a way as would bring about complete solidarity amongst the rank and file of the workers so that this organization may grow rapidly into a fighting force- to fight against all injustices, to counteract all retrograde steps which are believed to be in contemplation and to protect the rights and privileges hitherto enjoyed including absolute security of service. As soon as the Federal Executive meets and outlines its policy and programme, it should be the task ahead of each and every member of the Federation to implement them within the scheduled time.
“Introduction of assistant Inspectors’ post, direct recruitment of Class II Officers in Telegraph Traffic, New Recruitment Order , R.M.S. Reorganisation, Post -51candidates case, counting of entire dearness allowance as special pay, I.P.O Examination of 1952, Reinstatement of victimized workers of P&T Unions and last but not the least the Revision of scales of pay of all categories of staff including the E.D.As vis-à-vis demand for a Second Pay Commission are matters of moment and need be given top priority. The separation of P&T Budget, rationalisation of rates policy are already on the agenda and yet this list is in no way exhaustive. Let us, therefore, consolidate all our energy and devise ways and means as to how and in what way success can be achieved on all issues and problems awaiting solution.
“P&T Federation- Zindabad”