Rural postal workers commence strike, delivery of posts affected

The National Federation of Postal Employees (NFPE), which represents around 4 lakh staff, has called for nationwide strike on August 23 to press for implementation of benefits suggested by the Gramin Dak Sevaks committee report, the federation’s secretary general, R N Parashar, told PTI.

The threat has come at a time when another postal staff union, All India Gramin Dak Sevak Union (AIGDSU) that claims support of around 1.8 lakh GDS, has already been on an indefinite strike since last week to press for implementation of the committee’s report.

The indefinite strike commenced by the rural postal workers on Tuesday has badly hit the delivery of posts and money orders in rural areas in 12 districts that come under the Trichy postal region.

Hundreds of Gramin Dake Sevaks (GDS), affiliated to the National Federation of Postal Employees commenced indefinite strike protesting against pending implementation of benefits for rural postal employees as per the recommendations of Kamalesh Chandra on pay revision of GDS.

Parashar said, “The GDS committee submitted report in November 2016 for the welfare of gramin dak sevaks (GDS) but the management is holding it back without any genuine reason.”

The GDS committee has recommended 2.5 per cent hike in basic pay of rural postal employees along with maternity leave benefits for women employees, proper space to work and all other welfare benefits that are given to regular employees, Parashar claimed.

There are over 1.55 lakh post offices, including 1.3 lakh rural post offices. There are around 2.7 lakh GDS who handle operations such as money remittances, delivery of Aadhaar and MGNREGA payments in rural post offices, an AIGDSU official said.

Due to the protest, the service of delivering ordinary posts, speed posts, register posts, parcel and money order has been affected. According to sources from the postal department, around three to four lakh postal letters are not delivered across the region every day.

“GDS handle 89 per cent of postal services and generate 60-70 per cent of total revenue for Department of Posts but we get only 15-20 per cent of share in the expenses. The salary of GDS is very low. We want the government to implement committee report without any delay,” AIGDSU General Secretary S S Mahadevaiah said.

The union has support of about 1.8 lakh GDS, Mahadevaiah said.

The NFPE is also demanding filing up of various vacant positions, payment of revised wages and arrears to casual, part-time, contingent employees and daily rated mazdoors as per 6th and 7th central pay commission. The union is also demanding provision of CGHS facilities to postal pensioners, implementation of five-day week for operative staff, among others.

Till the demands are implemented by the postal department, the strike would continue indefinitely, striking sources further stated.

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