7th Pay Commission protest: Salary hike demand forces 50,000 government employees to strike; full listing of demands

7th Pay Commission protest was held in Delhi on Tuesday with a mammoth gathering of as many as 50,000 government employees marching all the way to Parliament in an effort to put pressure on the Centre to clear their demands as soon as possible.

The All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) revealed that over 50,000 Railway workers marched to press their demands for a hike in minimum pay as based on 7th Pay Commission report recommendations. Over and above that the Railwaymen were also perturbed by the New Pension System (NPS) and wanted it to be trashed even as they underlined their preference for the older pension scheme.

According to protesters, Centre should effect a hike in the 7th CPC report based minimum pay from Rs 18,000 to Rs 26,000 with a fitment factor of 3.68 times. They said that the 3.00 times hike in pay was clearly not ebough as price rise was making things too difficult to maintain a lifestyle that was just about adequate.

Notably, Centre itself had agreed that the 7th pay commission report based hike of 2.57 times was not enough and that it would strive to clear an amount greater than that. But the rate by Centre is unacceptable to sarkari staff. The AIRF also wanted the National Pension Scheme to be scrapped as they found it totally unsuitable for their purposes.

Aside from their concerns over 7th Pay Commission salary hikes and NPS, the protesters also highlighted other concerns that they had. They expressed their fears at Indian Railways works being outsourced to foreigners. They said foreign entities in Railways are a “potential threat” to passenger safety too. They said railway works being “outsourced” on a large scale must be stopped forthwith.

The AIRF even said that this also violated the provisions of the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970. They submitted a memo to Piyush Goyal, Union Railway Minister, that said, “There has been a constant attempt to hand over the regular jobs to outside agencies, in detriment to the interest of safe travelling of the public. One by one departmental activities of Indian Railways are being handed over to private parties.”

Also, in his reaction, Shiv Gopal Mishra, general secretary, AIRF, said, “Under the National Pension System, the defined minimum pension or family pension is no more guaranteed for those employees who came in government service on or after 2004.”

This big protest by Indian Railways men that has lumped together their demands involving 7th Pay Commission, 100 per cent foreign direct investments (FDI) in rail works, outsourcing and NPS, has come at a time when the rest of the government servants fraternity has been anxiously waiting for the Centre to clear their demands for a salary hike based on the fitment factor rate that they want.

But with so many indicators pointing towards that not happening, the frustration in the community is rising. Surely, with the deadline in April fast approaching, protests like the one held by the railmen have grabbed eye-balls and everyone is looking at what kind of reaction this latest 7th pay commission development will elicit from the authorities.

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