68 years back , National Federation of Posts and Telegraphs Employees (NFPTE) was formed merging all the existing unions under a reorganisation plan agreed jointly by the P and T Department and the Unions. It was assured by the government that no other union will be recognised. NFPTE was having nine affiliated All India Unions – 2 unions in each arm of the department ( viz. Postal, Telegraphs, Telephones and RMS) for class III and Class IV separately and also one union for class III and Class IV staff of the Circle office. This system continued for three decades till the Department was bifurcated in to Posts and telegraphs in 1986. The Federation was also bifurcated in to NFPE and NFTE. But close relationship continues between NFPE and BSNLEU, the new union formed after Telecom was converted in to BSNL, a PSU.
It was the leadership of NFPTE, which took initiative for forming the Confederation of Central Govt Employees and Workers in 1956. The glorious strikes of 1960, 1968 and 1974 were organised under the leadership of Confederation, NFPTE, AIRF, AIDEF etc, The victimisation of the workers and their leaders by the govt was beyond any description and never seen earlier, even during the British days. But these struggles compelled the Central govt to settle many issues of the workers.
NFPTE Day was celebrated all over India with massive participation on 24th November every year with honouring the strike martyrs, flag hoisting, procession, meetings etc. It was an opportunity to remember the glorious past of the P and T trade union movement and also the pioneers and great leaders of the movement.
NFPTE as such does not exist now. The heritage is taken by NFPE and BSNLEU. The day is still observed in many centres jointly or separately. It is a time to teach the new generation about the glorious past and the great sacrifices made by the workers of the past to maintain the organisation and for achievement of demands.
As everybody knows, P and T trade unions did not start in 1954. Struggles were organised by the Postmen of Poona in the last decades of 19th century guided by Lokmanya Tilak. Babu Tarapada Mukherjee, Henry Barton and Barrister-at-Law V.G.Dalvi formed unions in Posts, Telegraphs and Postmen respectively in the first and second decades of 20th century and organised historical struggles. The 22 days strike of the P and T employees in 1946 is considered as part of the Independence struggle, in which the British government was compelled to agree to all the 12 demands raised by the Union.
On this 68th anniversary of the formation of NFPTE let us remember our glorious past and prepare for sustained struggles against the attacks on the working class and ordinary people by the pro-corporate Modi government. PSUs are either sold or disinvested, hard won trade union rights are being taken away, Communalism is raising its ugly head supported by the ruling party etc. etc. The working class has got an important role for safeguarding the ‘Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic of India’ and its traditions.
Let us remember and pay homage to the Martyrs who sacrificed their all in the many strikes and struggles. Red salute to them.
NFPTE Zindabad !
Unity for Struggle, Struggle for Unity, Unity and Struggle for Progress !