PROCEEDINGS OF THE 84TH
ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF AIRF
HELD IN NEW DELHI from 22-23 OCTOBER, 2008
The 84th Annual Conference of All India Railwaymen’s Federation(AIRF) was held in J.P. Chaubey Nagar, New Delhi(Northern Railway) from 22-23 October, 2008.
Special trains and split coaches from all over the Indian Railways reached, New Delhi/ Delhi.
Delegates and visitors were welcomed by the Reception Committee set up by the host union, i.e. Northern Railwaymen’s Union.
Messages received from national and international trade union organizations, which included Shri R. Velu, Minister of State for Railways, Shri K.C. Jena, Chairman, Railway Board, Shri Sukhbir Singh, Member Electrical, Railway Board, Bro. David Cockroft, General Secretary, International Transport Workers’ Federation, London, Bro. R. Crow, General Secretary, National Union of Rail Maritime and Transport Workers, All China Federation of Trade Unions, Bro. Shusaku Tsunoda, President, Japan Railway Trade Unions Confederation, Shri M. Raghavaiah, General Secretary, NFIR, Bro. Dato Zainal Rampak, General Secretary International Transport Workers Federation, Malaysia, Bro. Shigeru Wada, Regional Secretary, Asia Pacific Region and Norwegian Union of Railway Men Kjell Atle Brunborg.
Conference of the All India Committee of Railway Women Workers
The session began with the conference of All India Committee of Railway Women Workers on 21st October, 2008 at Badminton Hall, New Delhi. More than one thousand Railway women workers from all over the Indian Railways, Production Units and MTP Kolkata attended the meeting.
Conference of the All India Committee of Railway Women Workers’
Chaired by Smt. D. Shaleel, Chairperson, All India Committee of Railway Women Workers’, 9th All India Railway Women Employees’ Convention, under the banner of AIRF, was held on 21-10-2008 in Badminton Hall, New Delhi with great enthusiasm fanfare, ringing and dancing.
Smt. Shaleel after welcoming the leaders of AIRF, representatives and leader of AIRF Women’s Wing from all the zonal railways and production units offered coconuts, bouquets and shawl to Com. Umraomal Purohit, President, AIRF, Com. Harbhajan Singh Sidhu, President, NRMU(NR), Com. Shiva Gopal Mishra, General Secretary, NRMU(NR), J.R. Bhosale, Treasurer, AIRF, Jagdish Ajmera, Smt. Tajinder Kaur, Convener, AIRF’s Women and other distinguished guests who were present on the occasion.
Before the commencement of the business of the conference, S/Shri Umraomal Purohit, Smt. D. Shaleel and leaders on the dais laid wreaths on the portrait of late Com. J. P. Chaubey who left for heavenly abode on 3rd September, 2008
Com. Umraomal Purohit in his inaugural address paid rich tributes to late colleague J.P. Chaubey for his contribution in establishment of Women Wing of AIRF and congratulated Smt. D. Shaleel, Tajinder Kaur and others for putting hard labour to build Women Wing all over the Indian Railways. Com. Purohit acquainted all the participants about the Memorandum submitted to the VI CPC on behalf of women employees and recommendations relating to women employees and their problems. It is now up to the leaders and activists of Women Wing of AIRF affiliates to mobilize women employees under the banner of AIRF and its affiliates to get favourable recommendations implemented. All the vacancies of women employees are filled and more and more women are employed. S/Shri Harbhajan Singh, Shiva Gopal Mishra and other senior leaders assured full support to the leaders and activists in their fight for justice and equal statues and called upon the women activists to come forward and take up leadership not only of women employees but also of all Railway employees.
Smt. D. Shaleel thanked Coms. Umraomal Purohit, Rakhal Das Gupta, Harbhajan Singh Sidhu, Shiva Gopal Mishra, J.R. Bhosale, Mrs. Saroj Dixit and other senior leaders of AIRF for attending the 9th All India Railway Conference and for their good wishes, support and encouragement. She thanked the host union(NRMU(NR)), its leadership and activists of Women’s Wing in making necessary arrangements for lodging and boarding of the participants. She assured Com. Umraomal Purohit and others that the women railway employees would stand by AIRF and its affiliates in their struggle to improve lot of railway employees.
Com. Tajinder Kaur, Convener, AIRF Women Wing, gave brief account of positive and constructive activities of Women Wing both at the Unit and National level, observance of 8th March 2008 as International Women’s Day and 25th November, 2007 as the day of “Elimination of Violence against Women”. She congratulated all women activists of Women Wing for their active participation in secret ballot for the recognition of unions. She said, “it is a matter of pride and pleasure that all the affiliated unions of AIRF, except NERMU, have established their grand victory for their recognition.
After deliberations on the women’s problems and submission of brief report about the activities of women wing at the zonal railways and 9th Convention of All India Railway Women’s Wing under the banner of AIRF resolved to strengthen the Women Wings both at the zonal level and national levels for immediate implementations of recommendations of VI CPC and for securing human and equal rights and statues for women.
She said, “NRMU has made excellent arrangements and with the encouragements from the banner of AIRF and zonal unions and the leaders of Women’s Wings at all levels, 9th Annual Convention was a grand success.”
The Conference ended with the slogan, “Nari Shakti Zindabad!”
Working Committee Meeting of AIRF
Working Committee of AIRF met on 22nd October, 2008 from 14.30 hrs., when minutes of the last Working Committee meeting of AIRF, held on 17-18 August, 2008, in New Delhi, were circulated and confirmed, programme of the Conference was finalized, resolutions were discussed and a four member committee, including S/Shri Rakhal Das Gupta, Shiva Gopal Mishra, J.R. Bhosale and P.R. Menon, was formed to give resolutions a final shape. Letter written by Com. P.R. Menon to Com. Umraomal Purohit was discussed and the same was withdrawn.
On 22nd October, 2008, Inaugural Session of the 84th Annual Conference of AIRF was held in a decorated Pandal, which was attended by more than 20,000 delegates and visitors from across the country. Prior to that, a massive rally was taken out from the ceremonial siding of New Delhi Railway Station to J.P. Chaubey Nagar(Karnail Singh Stadium), New Delhi.
Welcome address was read out by Com. Shiva Gopal Mishra, Chairman, Reception Committee. At the outset, he spoke that it unthinkable that the Conference of AIRF is being held without Chaubeyji. He gave a detailed account of his loving memory of Com. J.P. Chaubey. He explained the struggling character and achievements of AIRF. He also requested the Hon’ble Minister for Railways for the recruitment of son/wards of Railway employees in the Railway.
Shri Ashok Kumar, General Secretary, All India SC/ST Association, Shri Jitender Singh, Secretary General, Indian Railway Promotee Officers Association, Shri U.S. Jha, General Secretary, All India RPF Association expressed solidarity with AIRF. Shri Surender Mohan, a social leader, gave valuable speech.
Shri Thampan Thomas, President, HMS thanked the Railwaymen for their contribution for the development of the country. He also expressed happiness that the Railway unions have added tremendous strength in building the organization of HMS throughout the country. He congratulated all affiliated unions of AIRF, including AIRF leadership, for their thumping victory in the secret ballot.
Shri Rakhal Dass Gupta, Acting General Secretary, AIRF, spoke in details about the activities of AIRF and congratulated the Railwaymen for their relentless fight to compel the Government for the appointment of VI CPC and also to improve its report further. He also congratulated all sections of Railwaymen for their continuous fight to revise the ceiling limit of Productivity Linked Bonus from Rs.2500/- p.m. to Rs.3500/- p.m. with retrospective effect and thus created a history.
Shri S.S. Khurana, Member Staff, Railway Board, addressed the huge gathering. He congratulated the Railwaymen for turning the table of the Railways by their untiring efforts. He congratulated the leadership of AIRF for maintaining healthy industrial relations. In his speech, he mentioned that in such a big industry of 14 lakh Railway workers, no man-day was lost. He congratulated the Railwaymen in achieving the improved recommendations of the VI CPC and also for having enhanced PLB.
Hon’ble Minister for Railways, Shri Lalu Prasad, gave a boost to the gathering by his illuminating speech. He gave a detailed account of contribution of Railwaymen in the working of the Indian Railways in all spheres. He said that the improvement in the Railways has been achieved and credit goes to the Railwaymen and not to him. He elaborated works done by the Railways in improving travelling facilities, providing comfortable journey to the travellers. He said that while there is price rise in all spheres, the Indian Railways has reduced fare and also extended different types of concessions to different segments of the society. He mentioned about the devastating flood in Bihar and acknowledged Railwaymens’ contribution of one-day wage for the relief of flood victims.
He expressed concern about abduction and killing of the Railwaymen by the terrorists. He also mentioned about the latest abduction of the Traffic staff at Meclecsiganj in Dhanbad Division of East Central Railway.
He paid his high tributes to the memory of the late J.P. Chaubey and added some of his important interaction with Com. J.P. Chaubey. He said that a bust of Chaubeyji should be installed. He said that Assstt. Drivers, Gangmen and others are working in the challenging situations to keep the wheels of Railways on move. He expressed sympathy for the appointment of the wards of the Railwaymen in the Railways and promised to explore possibility for their engagement as Substitute. He expressed in details, the difficulties arrived while revising the ceiling limit of PLB from Rs. 2500/- to Rs.3500/- p.m. and dedicated the same achievement to Chaubeyji. He also promised to look into the anomalies of the VI CPC as well as pay fixation of Group `D’ staff.
Com. Umraomal Purohit, President, AIRF, gave a detailed account of the struggle of AIRF. While expressing deep sorrow, he paid glowing tribute to the memory of Com. J.P. Chaubey and detailed out his long association with Chaubeyji. He gave a detailed account of history of AIRF. He explained in details the struggle of the Railwaymen in setting up of the VI CPC and Railwaymens’ struggle in inducting the concept of PLB and its improvement from time to time. He also explained in detail, how the report of the Pay Commission could be improved due to untiring efforts of the Staff Side, National Council(JCM) and AIRF. He explained that immediate after submission of the report by the VI CPC, he himself met the Member Secretary, Sixth Central Pay Commission and got clarification issued in respect of granting of minimum pay of Rs.7,000 to all Group `D’ staff and also to modify recommendations of the Pay Commission in respect of PLB, Running Allowance, etc. etc.
He further mentioned that on his suggestion, the Expenditure Secretary took no time to remove the word “Complex”, which enabled thousands of employees to draw Transport Allowance, but at the same time, he expressed concern about the inordinate delay from the Railway Ministry in the matter of RCP.
He said that it is AIRF and AIRF alone could compel the Government to modify and improve the report of the VI CPC. During his long speech he also explained the steps taken by AIRF to compel the Government to enhance the eligibility ceiling limit of PLB from Rs.2500/- p.m. to Rs.3500/- p.m. with retrospective effect from 1.4.2006. He said that PLB was first achieved by the AIRF, and then it was extended to other Central Government employees. This time also, ceiling of PLB has been raised from Rs.2500/- to Rs.3500/- on the agitation of AIRF, and other Central Government employees have also got the benefits subsequently.
He congratulated all the Railwaymen for thumping victory of the unions affiliated to AIRF during secret Ballot. He appealed to the Railwaymen to remain united under the banner of AIRF to make it more viable
Vote of thanks was extended by Com. Harbhajan Singh Sidhu .
23.10.2008 – Delegate Session
On 23rd October, Delegate Session started with illuminating speech of Comrade Umraomal Prohit, President, AIRF.
Com. Rakhal Dass Gupta presented the Report of the General Secretary.
The following Resolutions, duly proposed and supported, were unanimously adopted after the debate:-
Resolution No.1 – Tribute to Com. J. P. Chaubey
Comrade J.P. Chaubey, a fearless doyen of the trade union movement in the country, had rendered invaluable services for the cause of downtrodden people of the country in general and the Railwaymen in particular. He had suffered imprisonment, remained out of services for 12 years. Undaunted by punishment and hard life, late Com. J.P. Chaubey continued to render his valuable services to improve the lot of Railwaymen by persuasion and struggle. Through his untiring efforts, Com. Chaubey could put AIRF in a pivotal position in the trade union movement of the country. He had a commendable leadership quality. He was an architect of organizing and leading united struggle of Railway employees and civil servants. This 84th annual Conference of AIRF records its deep appreciation and regard for the sacrifices and services which Com. J.P. Chaubey had rendered for raising the living standard of the Railwaymen and resolves to carry forward the unfinished task of Comrade J. P. Chaubey.
(Moved by Com. S. G. Mishra, AGS/AIRF at the behest of Com. Umraomal Purohit, President, AIRF)
Resolution No.2 – On the Perspective
This 84th Annual Conference of AIRF notes with concern that even after 61 years of independence, progress in the matters of education, health, infant mortality, death of child bearing mothers, shelter, employment is much far from expectation. Healthcare and education have become too costly and beyond the reach of common people. People below Poverty Line are still abysmal high over 30 crores.
Women folk in the country is subjected to violence. They are sexually harassed. Corruption and criminalization are eating away the vital parts of the society. Communalism is showing its ugly face in different parts of the country on some form or other. Terrorism has caused serious problems throughout the country. Condition of small and marginal farmers is beyond any comprehension. In large part of the country, they are in debt trap.
The Government has enacted Special Economic Zones Act, extending all sorts of largesse to the business tycoons. Prices of all essential commodities are on stiff rise, making life of common people miserable.
Due to policies persuaded by the Government, dictated by the IMF and the World Bank, employment situation ids becoming gloomy day by day. There has been Jobless Growth in the country. ASIRF in conjunction with HMS has been fighting the battle of employment with the demand to include “Right to Work as a Fundamental Right” in the Constitution of the Country. Unemployment is a big threat for the development of young generation.
This Conference calls upon the Railwaymen to build up pressure on the Government to change its IMF and World Bank guided socio-economic policies and to adopt policies which will be for common good of all concerned.
(Proposed by Com. Shiva Gopal Mishra and seconded by Com. Ch. Sankara Rao)
Resolution No.3 – Achievements
This 84th Annual Conference of AIRF notes with deep appreciation and satisfaction that immediate after submission of the report of VI CPC to the government on 24.3.2008, Secretary, Staff Side(NC/JCM), Com. Umraomal Purohit, met the Member Secretary, Sixth Central Pay Commission and on his intervention, VI CPC had issued Corrigendum simplifying fixation of pay of Group `D’ employees in PB-I and also in the matter of PLB and Running Allowance that those should be decided between the Federations and the Railway Board after due discussion.
Staff Side, NC/JCM submitted a note to the Chairman, NC/JCM(Cabinet Secretary) and AIRF submitted a note to the Railway Board on the Railway’s matters. The issues were discussed with the Empowered Committee of Secretaries, headed by the Cabinet Secretary appointed by the government for the purpose. On the basis of these discussions, Fixation Formula, both for serving as well as retired employees, modified from multiplying factor of 1.74 to 1.86. Pay Bands revised, minimum pay raised from Rs.6660 to Rs.7000, minimum pension revised from Rs.3300 to Rs.3500, ACP revised from 2 to 3 at an interval of 10, 20 and 30 years of service, rate of annual increment was raised from 2.5% to 3% of Basic Pay, rate of Transport Allowance revised from Rs.400 to Rs.600 for Class `A’ cities and from Rs.300 to Rs.400 for other cities/localities.
The government has decided to set up Anomalies Committee and also to set up Fast Track Committee and referred the matter of pay scales of Master Craftsman and Pharmacist to the Fast Track Committee. Though clarifications in respect of Fixation of Pay of Group `D’ staff in scale Rs.2750-4400 and then its equivalent scale Rs.5200-20200(PB-1) + Rs.1800(Grade Pay) is ensured with effect from 1.1.2006 and arrears should be paid from the same date. This Conference further urges upon the Ministry of Railways to implement it immediately.
There have been anomalies in the matter of pay scales and AIRF office is flooded with representations from different categories of staff. Although the word “Campus” and mandatory distance of 1 km have been removed by the Finance Ministry, Railway Board have imposed a rider of Residential Card Pass/Workmen Shuttle Pass/School Pass to deny Transport Allowance most arbitrarily. It is noted that AIRF has been strongly pursuing this matter.
This Conference further notes with great satisfaction that the year long demand of raising eligibility limit of PLB from Rs.2500/- to Rs.3500/- with retrospective effect from 1.4.2006 has been considered by the Government and orders have been issued to pay PLB to the Railwaymen at the revised rate, including payment of arrear of PLB for the year 2006-07. This Conference also notes with satisfaction that this decision has been simultaneously extended to all the Central Government employees.
This Conference congratulates the Secretary, Staff Side(NC/JCM) Com. Umraomalji and the leadership of AIRF for taking timely steps for resolving the issues and ensuring timely payment.
(Proposed by Com. Salil Lawrence and Seconded by Com. Ch. Gandhi)
Resolution No. 4 – Problems of the Railwaymen
This 84th Annual Conference of AIRF notes with concern that in spite of increase in the number of trains and volume of works, staff are being reduced on the pretext of Benchmarking/Rightsizing etc. instead of sanctioning additional staff for undertaking additional workload.
Classification of duty hours are being downgraded from “Intensive” to “Continuous” and “Continuous” to “Essentially Intermittent”. Staff are being compelled to work for longer hours. Running staff are being compelled to work more than 10 hours from “Signing On” to “Signing Off”. They are compelled to remain away from the Headquarters for 3-4 days. Their periodical rest is abrogated. Staff are denied leave at the time of their need. Thus, additional burden of work is being thrust upon them without any humane consideration.
Vacancies lying over lakhs are not being filled up. There has been virtual ban in recruitment of staff. Further staff rendered surplus are being transferred in far flung areas, compelling them to maintain double establishments. Education of their children suffers badly. This set of surplus employees forfeit all the benefits of promotion, whatever they have earned during their service period.
This Conference also notes with concern that perennial nature jobs are being outsourced in violation of Contract Labour(Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970. Outsourcing is being done with sole intention to get the work done by deploying cheap labour employed through the outside agencies. This system is a breeding ground of exploitation and corruption.
This Conference directs the General Secretary to evolve a system in consultation with the affiliates to organize the contract labour under the umbrella of AIRF systematically.
This Conference also notes with concern that Group `C’ and `D’ employees are being transferred on the plea of sensitive post, causing untold sufferings, dislocation of family, disturbance in children’s education leading to economic hardship and mental agony.
This Conference also notes with concern that the living condition in the Railway Quarters has not been improved. Corporate Welfare Plan was framed with much fanfare, but it has produced a mole out of mountain. Although it was decided at the apex level as far back as 1973 that the Type-I quarter also should be of two-room but the staff are being compelled to live in single room Type-I quarter in unhygienic condition.
Medical facilities are most inadequate. The staff working at the roadside stations and gang huts are also denied medical facilities. There are widespread complaints about the quality of medicines. Hospitals are under staffed, specialists in various disciplines are not available and in many cases staff are being compelled to take the help of outside medical aid after spending hefty amount.
It is the motto of Railway staff to reach the travelling public safely to their destination. There have been number of impediments in the matter. To keep the rolling stock in good fettle it is necessary that the spare parts and other materials need to be of good quality/standard, but there is compromise in the matter of quality/standard causing failure of rolling stock. Due to vandalism by the outside agencies, sometime safety in the train operation suffers. All out efforts need to be made to improve the quality of spare parts etc. and also to take measures to stop vandalism.
There has been abnormal delay in the matter of offering compassionate ground appointment. Unsympathetic attitude of higher officials is standing as a stumbling block in the matter of compassionate ground appointment. Indiscriminate surrender of posts is also a contributing factor in the matter of delay in compassionate ground appointment. Railways should streamline the procedure, so that compassion is shown with utmost sympathy and the wards of the Railwaymen died in harness or declared medically unfit are appointed within the shortest possible time.
AIRF is totally opposed to the New Pension Scheme. There has been defined deduction but no defined benefit. The amount of pension is not defined. Provision of family pension is also absent. Apprehension of AIRF in the matter of utilization of the funds in the share market has come true. There is notch drive in Sensex from 21, 000 points in January, 2008 to 11,000 points in October, 2008. It is apprehended that the money deposited under the New Pension Scheme may become a casualty.
AIRF demanded to scrap the anti-labour report of the “Running Allowances Committee-2002”. In the wake of strike negotiation in January/February, 2006, it was decided that a “High Powered Committee”, headed by an eminent Retired Judge of High Court would be appointed to go into the matter of duty hours of Running staff and other safety categories of staff, but the Railway Ministry has not yet set up the committee and Running staff and other safety categories staff are being compelled to work for longer hours, jeopardizing the safety of travelling public as well as of themselves.
“Group `D’ Staff Promotion Committee” was appointed as per strike negotiation in February, 2006. The Committee was appointed and the Committee has since submitted its report. This Conference demands upon the Ministry of Railways to discuss the issue threadbare with the organized labour for its implementation as suggested by AIRF.
This Conference also notes with concern that the long pending demand for treatment of full period of CL/CPC service for the purpose of pensionery benefits is yet to be conceded. The issue of revision of rate of incentive bonus for workshop staff is also a long pending demand. Railway Board have issued orders for closure of printing presses. This has been protested by AIRF and upon the discussion, Railway Board have appointed a Committee. AIRF strongly opposed to the closure of printing presses as this will be proved counter productive.
This Conference directs the affiliated unions of AIRF to mobilize the Railwaymen on the above problems and mount pressure on the Railway administration to resolve them.
(Proposed by Com. J.R. Bhosale and Seconded by Com. S.K. Brahma)
After the General Secretary’s Report and placing of the Resolutions, the President invited the delegates to participate in the discussion on the General Secretary’s Report and also on the Resolutions. There was lovely discussion. Many useful suggestions and criticisms were made by the delegates.
Some of the delegates who participated in the discussion were – S/Shri Asish Biswas, A.M. D’Cruz, P.R. Menon, U.C. Tyagi, M.N. Bajpai, R.D. Yadav, R.K. Chattopadhyaya, Rajinder Singh, Sisir Mazumder, B.N. Shukla, Ms D. Saleel , Sonia Hasija and others.
In the Delegate Session, various issues were discussed, some of them were – recommendations of the VI CPC, Allowances, Pay Fixation of Group `D’ Staff, Anomalies, PLB, Outsourcing, Safety, New Pension Scheme, Recognition of the unions in the Production Units and MTP, Compassionate Ground Appointment, arbitrary surrendering of posts, filling up of vacancies, Safety Related Retirement Scheme, problems faced by the various categories of staff, maintenance of Railway Colonies and quarters, improvement in the medical facilities, constitution of the Women Committees Division-wise, etc. etc.
Resignation given by Shri K.L. Gupta from the post of Working President/AIRF was accepted and lastly following persons were elected unanimously to fill up the vacancies:-
(i) Shri Rakhal Das Gupta , Working President, AIRF
(ii) Shri Shiva Gopal Mishra, General Secretary, AIRF
(iii) Shri K.L. Gupta, Asstt. General Secretary, AIRF
(iv) Shri Harbhajan Singh Sidhu, Asstt. General Secretary, AIRF
(v) Shri Y.K. Sharma, Working Committee Member, AIRF/NRMU(NR)
The President appreciated the host union – Northern Railwaymen’s Union for making wonderful arrangements and extending hospitality to the delegates and visitors while their stay during the conference.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the Chair
84th Annual Conference of AIRF will be held at New Delhi from October 22-24, 2008. Northern Railwaymen`s Union is organised the conference.
Dated: September 25, 2008
The General Secretaries,
All Affiliated Unions and Members of AIRF Working Committee
Sub: Notice for the 84th Annual Conference of AIRF scheduled to be held in New Delhi from 22-24 October, 2008
Notice is hereby issued under Article 7(c) of the Constitution of All India Railwaymen’s Federation that the 84th Annual Conference of AIRF will be held in New Delhi(Northern Railway) from 22-24 October, 2008. The following will be agenda of the Conference:-
(i) Consideration of the General Secretary’s Report.
(ii) Consideration of the subjects, as may be referred to the General Council by the affiliated unions.
(iii) Consideration of the resolutions, including those received from the affiliated unions.
(iv) Consideration of the amendments to the Constitution, if any proposed;
(v) Filling up of the vacancies of the Office Bearers and Members of Working Committee.
(vi) Any other matter with the permission of the Chair.
(Rakhal Das Gupta)
Acting General Secretary