CHAPTER – 16
FORMATION OF U.P.T.W
It is an admitted fact that the strike brought more relief to the P&T workers and it also served an eye- opener to the P&T leaders who conducted the strike. All of them felt the necessity of having one organization of the P&T workers. It is not worthy that within 24 hours of the calling of the strike the government had withdrawn recognition of the All India Telegraph Union, All India Postal and RMS Union, Bengal and Assam Provincial Branch, the Indian Posts and Telegraph Union, Calcutta Branch and the All India Telegraph Workmen’s Union, Bengal Branch and also of the All India Postal and RMS Union, Calcutta Branch. The recognition was withdrawn on the ground of all these unions having gone on an illegal strike. The Central Council of the All India Postal and RMS Union which met at Delhi from 14th to 16th September 1946 unanimously adopted a resolution congratulating the Bengal and Assam Branch for launching the heroic struggle and adopted a strong resolution protesting against the withdrawal of the recognition of the Bengal and Assam Provincial Branch which the council thought so long as the central union had not withdrawn recognition, the Government had no business to interfere and demanded restoration of the recognition.
The council strongly resented the attitude of the Federation of P&T Unions during the strike and adopted the following resolution:
“The council resolves that the interest of the members constituting the All India Postal and RMS Union would best be served by seceding from the Federation and therefore this union does hereby secede from the Federation of P&T Unions”.
The resolution was moved by the veteran leader, Shri. Raj Bahadur and seconded by Shri. J.H.Rizvi.
Thus the General Council gave a death blow to the Federation of P&T Unions headed by Diwan Chaman Lal.
Shri.B.S.Kamble who was the General Secretary of the All India Postal and RMS Union had abruptly left the headquarters and gone to Nagpur on the 24th June, 1946 and Shri. Manmohan Lal Topa had to assume charge since then. The post of General Secretary was declared vacant by the council and Shri. Raj Bahadur of U.P was unanimously elected as General Secretary to be assisted by Coms. Hari Ram and Raghubans Sahal Srivastava till the next election. The council further resolved that Shri.B.N.Ghosh be authorized to select an outsider to work as probationary Secretary on a remuneration of Rs. 150/- per month. The council also passed a strong resolution demanding sanction of strike period pay.
The recognition of the Provincial Branch was however restored on the 3rd October, 1946.
Com.V.G.Dalvi at Bombay and Shri. P.C.Chatterjee, Shri. Birendra Nath Ghosh , Shri.K.D.Roy Choudhry and myself seriously began thinking of having one organization of the P&T workers. Com.Dalvi who had gone to Europe after the strike was over, on his return to India issued a statement in favour of having one Union for the entire P&T workers. This gave an impetus to the movement and all the unions more or less began thinking on these lines.
All the P&T unions however, since August, onwards, had to direct all their attention to the Pay Commission. According to the announcement made by the Government in the Central Legislative Assembly on the 7th February, 1946, the Government of India, Finance Department, vide its resolution No.F.11(11)-E-II/46 dated 105-46 appointed a Pay Commission to institute an enquiry into the range of Government servant salaries.
The following gentlemen were elected as members of the Commission:-
1. Hon’ble Mr.Hussain Imam, member, Council for State
2. Mr.M.V.gadgil, BALLB. MLA
3. Mr.Frank Anthony, MLA
4. Lt.Col Dr. J.C.Chatterjee, MLA
6. Mr. C.V.Sreenivasa Rao, CIA
The hon’ble Mr.Justice Sreenivasa R Varadachari Kt., Judge of the Federal Court, was appointed as Chairman of the Commission. On the 20th July, the Commission sent a list of questionnaire to all the recognized P&T Unions. Most of the Unions numbering 14 at that time submitted replies to the questionnaire separately. Memoranda were also submitted to the Commission by most of them and the Federation. Com.K.Ramamurti who was then connected with the Indian Posts and Telegraphs Union, took the initiative in calling a meeting at the United Coffee House, New Delhi of all the P&T leaders who had assembled at Delhi to discuss the possibility of presenting a common front before the commission. His attempt unfortunately did not bear any fruit. The Commission recorded the oral evidence of various P&T Unions from the 9th to 16th December. Shri. K.D.Roy Choudhry who was selected as the spokesman of the All India Postal and RMS union, placed the view points of that union before the Commission. The demands put forth by different P&T Unions were contradictory in nature. Some members of the Pay Commission noticed this and remarked that while All India Railway Employees Federation is capable of representing the case of the Railway employees, the P&T Federation is not at all representing the case of P&T Employees. The Unions affiliated to the Federation however, worked jointly through the Federation. The P&T Unions could not impress the commission by their evidence. The following were the principal Unions which had given oral evidence before the Commission:-
1. The Federation of P&T Unions
2. The All India Postmen and Lower Grade Staff Union
3. The All India Postal and RMS Union
4. The All India Telegraph Union
5. The Indian Telegraph Association
The needs of Telegraphists were being looked into by three separate unions: that is why they could not place a common demand on scale of pay. The Federation asked for a scale of pay of Rs. 125/- to 225/- for the Telegraphists whereas the All India Telegraph Union demanded Rs. 100/- to 300/-. In the same way the All India Postal and RMS Union differed from the All India Postmen and Lower Grade Staff Union on various issues. The scale of pay demanded for the Postal and RMS employees Union were not the same as demanded by the Indian Posts and Telegraphs Union through the Federation.
The above served as an eye opener to the rank and file of the P&T workers and the urge came from them for having one union for the entire P&T workers.
The All India Postal RMS union Conference which was held at Akola during X’mas of 1946 under the president- ship of Shri.Mrinal Kanti Bose, who was then President of the All India Trade Union Congress, was memorable session.
The conference took the momentous decision for affiliating the union with the All India Trade Union Congress and adopted the resolution for merger of all the P&T Unions and establishment of one union for the P&T workers.
This session elected Com. Om Prakash Gupta who had been working as Secretary (on probation) since September, as the General Secretary of the Union. Com Gupta Just on assuming charge of the union began in right earnest to propagate the cause for establishment of one union. Com.V.G.Dalvi, the General secretary of the All India Postmen and Lower Grade Staff Union who had already expressed his views in favour of merger, with a view to having a joint front with the All India Postal and Lower Grade Staff Union, persuaded the General Council of the Postmen and Lower Grade Staff Union to adopt a resolution in favour of affiliating the Postmen Union to the All India Trade Union Congress. (to be continued).