AIBDPA Kerala Circle published the book on “The Historic Strike of 19th September 1968” (in Malayalam ) authored by Coms. V.A.N.Namboodiri and P.V.Chandrasekharan on this 19th September, the 50th anniversary of the strike. The book was well received and many comrades conveyed their appreciation.
Some comrades also contacted and has given some additional information regarding the events taken place in their places along with the names of leading comrades, who were suspended, terminated etc. In fact, we wanted to publish the names of all the terminated and suspended comrades in Kerala, but could not get the information.
All these can be included in the next edition of the book, in case such an edition is published. However, the records may be updated and kept with all these information as a document and supplied to the Circle / District leaders. For that purpose, the details are required.
I would request all comrades, including office-bearers at all levels, to furnish such information to us so that the records can be updated. The information may kindly be sent to: V.A.N.Namboodiri, S-8, Alhind Elite Apartments, Nadakkave Post, Kozhikode – 673011.
Many comrades have been enquiring about the above book on 19th September 1968 Strike, jointly authored by me and Com. P.V.Chandrasekharan. Most of the copies are sold out. Some copies are available with me. Copies will be available with the Secretaries of BSNLEU/NFPE/AIBDPA/AIPRPA/Confederation at the districts headquarters of Kerala. Please either contact me or the District Secretaries for the same.
50 years are over the historical one day token strike of the Central Government employees which took place on 19th September 1968.
It was a strike which shook the government and the country. More than 30 lakhs of CG employees participated keeping the country to a standstill. The P and T workers with their strategical position in the Communication sector ensured that the entire machinery of the governments, both at central and states was paralysed.
It was a struggle for the dignity of labour, for the 15th ILC approved Need Based Minimum Wage, for full neutralisation in cost of living through Dearness Allowance and such other demands. The demands were well understood by the workers despite the false propaganda of the government.
The Indira Gandhi Government used the hated Essential Service Maintenance Ordinance and other such anti-worker ordinances to suppress the struggle, instead of conceding the just demands of the workers. The workers did not flinch; they had the bitter experience of the 1960 strike which was treated as ‘Civil Rebellion’ and tried to be suppressed by then then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The workers had understood the real policy of the government, which was only to support the rich and ignore the justified demands of the workers.
It is to the credit of the Communist Government in Kerala, headed by Com.EMS Namboodiripad, who declared that his government will not use the ESMA against the striking government employees, despite the central government warned him that failure to implement ESMA may result in dismissal of his government.
Thousands of workers were arrested, jailed, terminated, suspended, dismissed and heavily victimised. NFPTE and other CGE unions were derecognised. For the first time after the formation of the united organisation, NFPTE in 1954, a fake union was floated, which later became FNPTO to serve the interests of the ruling political party.
In Calicut, Kerala, where I was working at that time, 44 temporary employees were terminated, 95 suspended and almost all the active workers charge-sheeted and punished. I was out of service for about three years and was reinstated after transfer to another division. This was the case with many of the leaders and active workers and even ordinary members.
Many years have passed since then. The workers are now getting DA automatically, whenever there is an increase in the cost of living. Strike victimisation has come down. Usually only dies-non is issued for participation in the strike, except in isolated cases. Recognition of the union is not withdrawn. But still we are to get Minimum Wage implemented as per Dr. Akroyd formula which is around Rs.26,000 at present and the VII CPC has recommended only Rs. 18,000. The struggle of the CG Employees will continue for justice. BSNL employees, who were part of the CG Employees earlier, always keeps close connection with the CG employees including very cordial relations of the unions/associations.
On this 50th anniversary of the historical strike, I pay homage to the martyrs of the 1968 September 19th Strike. The great leaders who led the strike, the workers who implemented the call – we remember all of them, some still in the movement, all of them retired and some already no more with us. I will always remember those comrades who were part of this great struggle and contributed for a better future for the working class.
Cabinet approves additional 2 percent Dearness Allowance (DA) for Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners w.e.f. 1st July, 2018
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved to release an additional installment of Dearness Allowance (DA) to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners w.e.f. 01.07.2018 representing an increase of 2% over the existing rate of 7% of the Basic Pay/Pension, to compensate for price rise.
The combined impact on the exchequer on account of both Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief would be Rs.6112.20 crore per annum and Rs.4074.80 crore in the financial year 2018-19 (for a period of 08 months from July, 2018 to February, 2019).
This will benefit about 48.41 lakh Central Government employees and 62.03 lakh pensioners.
This increase is in accordance with the accepted formula, which is based on the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission. (courtesy: Confederation website)
Bhopal Conference – Start of a New Era
For conducting the elections, Com.Homi Daji, President, was elected as Presiding Officer and Com. J.Renganathan as Asst. Presiding Officer. Both sides nominated their election agents also. The method of conduct of elections as proposed by the General Secretary was accepted. It was not easy to conduct an election where about three thousand delegates are there with a large number of candidates including 13 office-bearers and 34 Federal Councillors from both sides. It was almost an impossible task to conduct the same in the limited time through secret ballot, which we insisted, since there can be a lot of manipulations otherwise. There was no computer or such arrangements; everything had to be typed and photostatted. It took many valuable hours. Two ballot papers were made ready – one for office bearers and another for Federal Councillors. Federal Councillor is elected from each of the affiliated unions in NFTE on the basis of membership, who will participate in the Federal Council, which will elect the office bearers of the Federation, NFTE.
The Election Campaign
The time was effectively used by both sides for election campaign. Processions with banners and flags in the vast conference pandal, speeches, slogan raising, meeting individual delegates – all kinds of propaganda were effectively organised. Since we had planned earlier, it was easy for us to arrange the same.
While I, along with other leaders and delegates were doing the propaganda work, Com. Moni Bose was sitting inside the pandal with a few comrades discussing things. He called me and secretly asked me whether we will win. I told him that there is every chance for us to win. Then he told me that ‘in that case I will have to shift to New Delhi. You must also come. It will be difficult to face them alone’. Without thinking for a moment, I told him that we are sure to win and that we can work together at Delhi. This put an end to his anxiety. There was no other way for me but to give the assurance, though I was not sure of victory.
The method for election was that each Circle Secretary will be the Election Officer for that Circle. There will be agents from both the sides. The poling booth for circles were arranged in various parts of the pandal. There were only ten circle secretaries who were supporting us and the other 22 or so other circle Secretaries belonged to OPG side. So there was every chance for manipulation of votes, and that is what happened also. Despite protests from the agent of Com. Moni Bose group, many circle secretaries compelled their delegates to vote openly so that they will not vote to our candidates. There were also some circle secretaries, who meticulously conducted the polling. The situation of Bihar Circle was not only open voting, but the Circle Secretary, after giving the ballots to the delegates, read the name of the candidates of OPG group and asked them to tick that and after checking by himself put in the ballot box. The result was that not a single vote for any candidate from Moni Bose Group was received in Bihar. The entire votes went to OPG side. Although all these manipulations were brought to the notice of the Presiding Officer, he delayed visiting the polling booths. By the time he visited, polling was over and nothing could be done. In such a situation, we were doubtful about the results of the election.
Results announced – Victory for Moni Bose panel
The counting started in the midnight and continued till morning. First, the counting was done for the election of office-bearers. The Presiding Officer, The Assistant Presiding Officer and the two agents finalised the tedious job. It was a tense movement and complete silence when the President rose to announce the results. When he started announcing the results of circles, one after another, there was complete surprise and shock. For the President onward to all the office-bearers in the Moni Bose group, a large number of votes were being received from many circles. It was a neck to neck fight.
At this stage, there was an effort from the side of Com.O.P.Gupta, to compel the presiding Officer to stop the announcement of the results. But a well known trade union leader like Com. Homi Daji, could not agree to such a miscarriage of justice.
At last the total votes for each candidates were announced after adding the votes of all circles. The following Office-bearers from Moni Bose group were declared elected:
V.A.N.Namboodiri ,(Kerala ) (President) Smt. A.K.Saramma (Madras), Smt. Anima Banerjee (Calcutta), K.D.M.Tripathi (U.P)(Vice-Presidents), Moni Bose (W.Bengal) (General Secretary), M.N.Reddy (A.P.), S.R.Nayak (M.P) (Asst. General Secretaries), Begraj Kheri (UP) (Treasurer), P.S.Sangwan (Haryana)(Asst. Treasurer)
The following were four office-bearers elected from OPG group, but with very less margin:
N.T.Sajwani (M.P.), N.Y.Lokhande (Bombay) (Vice-Presidents), R.K.Kohli (Delhi), S.Jagannathan (T.Nadu) (Asst. General Secretaries).
The maximum vote was received by Smt. A.K.Saramma, Vice-President. She was a senior leader of the Madras Telephones. She got many votes from the North also confusing her name with ‘Sharma’. Further, there were only 4 candidates from OPG side to the posts of 5 Vice-Presidents.
O.P.Gupta, General Secretary of the union for long 37 years since formation of NFPTE and E.III Union in 1954, lost for the first time. In fact, there was not any contest in AICs, except once or twice, that too not on a panel basis. He was considered undefeatable. The delegates decided otherwise.
After conveying his Greetings and Best Wishes, the President left the place stating that he had some urgent meetings to attend. He entrusted Asst. Presiding Officer J.Renganathan and OPG nominee Y.L.Ramdas to count the votes for the election for the Federal Councillors. After congratulating and extending full co-operation to the newly elected office-bearers, O.P.Gupta also left the place stating that he has to reach Delhi urgently. Probably it was much embarrassment for him to meet the workers after his decisive defeat in the elections.
The counting for the Federal Councillors were conducted next. It also took a long time. The following were elected: This included many from both sides, as it was felt at the time of nomination itself that circle secretaries of major circles need not be contested. Many names were in both the lists.
Comrades R.Gunasekhar, S.D.Borkar, R.L.Mondal, Gour Saha, Swadeshi Das, A.K.Bhattacharjee, Parithosh Bose, Sivdas Banerjee, J.Renganathan, P.Abhimanyu, P.V.Chandrasekharan, S.N.Sarma, P.Ramasamy, P.Asoka Babu, N.T.Sajwani, S.B.Srinivasan, R.S.Yadav, M.Madhusudana Rao, R.K.Thotre, M.P.Dalwadi, M.N.Khokhani, N.Chakravarti, S.Siddiqui, B.B.Rawat, S.G.Pawar, B.P.Sharma, L.N.Mishra, K.L.Sharma, D.V.Lavadia, M.B.Vichare, Triveni Rai, Sriram Swaran Kar, J.Sampath Rao and J.C.Pande.
The new office-bearers and Federal Councillors were greeted with slogans by the delegates. Many from the OPG group itself were happy that a change for the correct policy has come.
Thus a great change came in the leadership as well as the policy of the union. This was a historical victory for the progressive section in the union. The change was not only welcomed by the telecom workers, but many organisations of the central government employees unions as also P and T unions welcomed this change. This was treated as a victory for the correct policy over the revisionist line.
The newly elected office-bearers and Federal Councillors were given a grand welcome in the Bhopal Exchange premises. Coms. V.A.N.Namboodiri, President and Com. Moni Bose, General Secretary spoke and assured the workers that they will focus on the issues of the workers and will tread the correct line.
Thus ended the historical Bhopal Conference. (To be continued).
The One Day Token Strike of Central Government Employees on 19th September 1968 was historic in all aspects, the demands, the huge participation, the draconian punishments, arrests, dismissals, terminations and so on. Striking workers were killed by gun shots as also by running train over the picketers – the eternal martyrs. The fight against victimisation was a saga of determination and tenacity to ensure that each and every dismissed / terminated worker is reinstated.
19th September 2018 is the 50th anniversary of this mighty struggle of lakhs of workers. I am writing a book on the One day Historic Strike to be released on 19th September. There were 290 comrades terminated in P and T in Kerala alone. I would request our comrades in Kerala, who have got some information about the strike in their towns/cities/area like participation in the strike, victimisation, fight against victimisation etc. to kindly send to me so that those incidents can also be included. Photographs, if any, in connection with the strike, including the photoes of the leaders may kindly be send to the following address;
V.A.N.Namboodiri, S-8, Alhind Elite Apartments, P.O. Nadakkav Kozhikode – 673011. Mob: 9868231431 E-mail: email@example.com
Thanks to all.
11th July 2018 is the 58th anniversary of the great struggle of the Central Government employees which started on 11/12th July 1960 and continued for 5 days.
The Indefinite Strike was the result of the continuous negligent attitude of the central government on the demands of the CG employees. The First Pay Commission was appointed after the historical 22 days P and T strike in 1946, in which the British Government was compelled to concede all the 12 major demands raised by the employees. India got Independence in 1947 and the CG employees were also exhilarated that now they will be working under Indian Government headed by Indians. The “Socialist pattern of Society” declared by Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru gave the hope that the issues of the CG employees will also be considered favourably. However, the NFPTE and Confederation were compelled to issue a strike notice demanding appointment of II Central Pay Commission, only after which the Pay Commission was appointed.
But the report of the II CPC was completely retrograde. Neither the Need Based Minimum Wage prescribed by the 15th Indian Labour Conference held in 1957 was accepted/recommended nor any clear formula for grant of DA when cost of living index increased was prescribed. The government was not even prepared to discuss with the Confederation of CG employees, NFPTE and other federations on improving the recommendations, stating that it is an ‘award’. The employees had no other alternative but to go n an indefinite strike.
The government reacted with anger. How the CG employees can go on strike in independent India, when the government is trying to improve the lot of the people? How can they oppose the government elected by the huge majority of the people and led by a great leader like Jawaharlal Nehru, the freedom struggle leader? The government regarded the strike as a ‘Civil Rebellion’ and promulgated the draconian ‘Essential Service Maintenance Ordinance’ by which the strike in central services were banned. Those who went on strike were liable to be arrested and jailed for six months and a fine of Rs. 500 imposed. Those who supported the strike or gave any assistance to them were to be punished with one year jail and Rs.1000 fine.
It is to the credit of the leadership and workers that they braved the threats and went on strike well knowing the consequences. The indefinite strike started in the midnight of 11/12 the July 1960. Employees on duty from the telephone exchanges, telegraph, post and RMS offices walked out at the tick of the clock and the great strike started. The Railway employees stopped their duty and the trains were stopped and piled up in the stations and nothing could move. Defence factories stopped working. The central administration Delhi, including the offices of the ministers stopped functioning with the employees on strike in the Central Secretariat. About 3000 CG employees were in jail since 17th September for participation of a massive rally in support of the strike. All leaders were arrested and jailed. NFPTE Secretary General, Com. P.S.R.Anjaneyulu was arrested, handcuffed and made to walk through the streets. It was taken away only when the magistrate ordered the police to remove it.
The Youth Congress along with the Special branch, local police etc. was on the look out for the strikers, who went underground in many places to avoid arrest. Tens of thousands of strikers were arrested and put in jail all over India. Railway workers were killed by police firing and purposely over run by trains. Two comrades committed suicide, including Com. Ekambaram, Telephone Operator, Palakkad, who could not adjust to the punishment of termination and a family to support. The government actions were nothing short of a vicious attack on the enemy in a war.
The workers understood the cruel face of the government. They continued the strike for 5 days, though all the leaders were in jail. At last, the leaders called off the strike from the jail.
The ordeal was not over. Thousands of strikers who came to rejoin duty were suspended and terminated from service. Hundreds of termination notices were issued to temporary employees. Rule 14 charge sheets were issued to many to dismiss them from service. Even the British government did not treat any strike like this. Asking and fighting for the legitimate rights of the workers was treated as a crime.
Com.A.K.Gopalan and other M.P.s raised the issue of vacation of victimisation in the Parliament and severely criticised the Government. They asked, ‘is it the same Jawaharlal Nehru, who supported the railway Strike of the British workers in 1926 and also the P and T Strike of 1946 in India, who is treating the present strike as ‘Civil rebellion’ and punishing the workers?’ Vacate the cruel punishments, they demanded.
All these had some effect. By about four years, all who were terminated and dismissed were taken back, suspensions revoked and court cases withdrawn. It was a great relief to the workers.
The strike and the victimisation in 1960 convinced me and many other young workers that there is no other alternative to the workers other than a strong union and sustained struggle to advance the cause of the workers.
But the anger and fire in their mind and heart did not vanish even for a second. It was burning throughout the years and the result was the mighty One Day Toke Strike of 19th September 1968, the 50th anniversary of which is being observed this year.
The 1960 strike, though brutally suppressed, was not in vain. In fact, no struggle is in vain. The result may not come immediately, but it is bound to come. In this struggle also it was the same. The government was compelled to appoint two DA commissions one after another for recommending formula for DA revision and formation of a forum for discussion, the Joint Consultative machinery (JCM).
While observing the 50th anniversary of the epic strike, let us pay homage to the martyrs of the 1960 strike and also pledge ourselves to continue the great tradition and fight for the right of the workers and for justice to the down trodden. It has become most important at this stage, especially when the hard won rights of the workers are being taken away one after another and even ‘hire and fire’ formula is being implemented the Modi government itself through ‘fixed term’ jobs.
STRUGGLE FOR UNITY, UNITY FOR STRUGGLE, AND STRUGGLE AND UNITY FOR PROGRESS!
The Convention of the Confederation of CG Employees and workers held at Hyderabad on 10th June has unanimously gave a call to organise a One Day Strike on 15th November 2018, demanding scraping of Contributory Pension Scheme and other 10 point Charter of Demands. The All India State Government Employees Federation (AISGEF ) has also declared strike on the same day.
Main demands are Scrap Contrbutory Pension System and implement Old Pension System for all , honour assurance given by Group of Ministers regarding increase in Minimum Pay & Fitment Formula, Stop Outsourcing of Govt functions and contractorisation , Grant Equal Pay for Equal Work , Settle 10 points Charter of demands etc.
It is a welcome decision. The PFRDA and introduction of PF pension instead of defined statutory pension to central and state government employees have discriminated the new workers. This is not acceptable.
All support and solidarity to the struggle.
The GDS workers all over India will go on strike w.e.f. 22nd May demanding implementation of the favourable recommendations of the Kailash Chandra Committee. Modi government is delaying decision for the last more than one year. Extend all support to the strike of GDS on whose back exists the postal service in the rural and city areas.