The demands will affect the lakhs of employees in the 1.55 lakh post offices in India.
Around four lakh rural post office employees, united under the banner of the National Federation of Postal Employees (NPFE), are on a strike today, to protest against the non-implementation of better pay and other benefits demanded earlier.
Earlier, the Gramin Dak Sevak (GDS) committee had heard and prepared a report on the various demands of the employees. Although the report was submitted to the authorities in 2016, the demands were put on hold by the management.
The GDS committee had recommended a 2.5 per cent raise in the basic pay of rural postal employees, maternity leave for women employees, proper space to work and all other benefits available to regular employees.
Given the length and breadth of the country, a total of 1.55 lakh postal offices are in operation to cater to the people. Out of these, 1.33 lakh are rural post offices.
Around 2.7 lakh GDS are posted in these rural post offices— they are responsible for money remittances, delivery of Aadhar and MGNREGA payments in the rural areas. So, the number of employees affected by this decision is huge and certainly requires proper handling of the situation.
Also, 89 per cent of the postal services are handled by GDS, generating around 60 to 70 per cent of the total revenue for the postal department. Surprisingly, these GDS only get around 15 to 20 per cent of the share in the expenses. Their salary is too low in comparison to regular employees.
Another union, the All India Gramin Dak Sevak Union (AIGDSU) is already on an indefinite strike demanding implementation of the benefits suggested by the committee report.
The NFPE is also demanding the filling up of various vacant positions, in addition to the payment of revised wages and arrears to casual, part-time, contingent employees and daily-rated mazdoors as per the 6th and 7th Central Pay Commissions (CPC).
Among other things, the union has also called for the provision of CGHS facilities to postal pensioners and implementation of five-day week for operative staff.