Retrograde Recommendations of 7th CPC
M. Krishnan, Secretary General,
Confederation of C. G. Employees & Workers
Report of the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) headed by Retired Supreme Court Justice, Ashok Kumar Mathur was submitted to Government on 19th November 2015 after 21 months. The Union Cabinet announced its decision to implement the recommendations on 29th June 2016. Through the press release circulated to media and the statement of Finance Minister, the Government made a calculated move to create an impression among the public that the Modi Government is magnanimous enough to extend big bonanza to the Central Government employees. Eventhough, immediately after submission of the 7th CPC report, the Joint Council of Action of Central Government Employees (NJCA) representing Railways, Defence and Confederation including Postal had submitted a memorandum to Government demanding modifications of the retrograde recommendations of the 7th CPC, the Government while announcing its decision, rejected all the demands raised by the staff side.
The 7th CPC recommended only Rs.18000/- as minimum pay by arbitrarily modifying and manipulating Dr. Aykroyd’s Need based minimum wage formula on untenable premises and incorrect data. The main demand of the NJCA is to re-compute the minimum wage on the basis of actual commodity prices as on 01.07.2015 and factor Dr. Aykroyd formula stipulated percentage for housing, social obligations and children’s education etc. and to revise the fitment formula and all pay scales on the basis of the so determined minimum wage. The methodology adopted by 7th CPC is irrational, imaginary and even absurd.
The Government’s claim that big increase is given to the employees is totally false. In para 4.2.9 of the report, the 7th CPC has given a table depicting the percentage of increase provided by the successive pay commissions appointed after independence. According to the table, the 2nd CPC has made a paltry increase of 14.2.% (1960), the 3rd CPC gave a rise of 20.6% (1973), the 4th CPC 27.6% (1986), the 5th CPC 31% (1996) and 6th CPC 54% (2006) whereas the average increase granted by 7th CPC is only 14.29% (2016), while the percentage increase had been in ascending order all along, the 7th CPC has sought to reverse that trend. The megre increase recommended and accepted by the Government without any change is the worst ever any pay commission has recommended since 1960. In 1960 five days historic strike of entire Central Government employees took lace demanding modifications of 2nd CPC recommendations.
Another claim of the Government is that it has accepted the recommendations of the 7th CPC to increase the existing salary by 2.57 times !!!. This is a totally misleading propaganda. The existing basic pay of a lowest level employee of the Central Government called Multi-Tasking staff (MTS) is 7000 plus 125% Dearness Allowance as on 01.01.2016. Thus the total salary as on 1st January 2016 is 7000 + 8750 DA = 15750. The Minimum pay recommended by 7th CPC is 18000 i.e; the actual increase in salary is Rs. 2250/- only at the lowest level. The fitment factor of 2.57 is worked out excluding the 125% DA an employee is getting at present. As the next wage revision takes place only after ten years in 2026, the above increase of 2250/- in the salary is megre.
In the past, every time, either before or immediately after the appointment of pay commissions, the employees are granted DA merger, Last time, before appointment of 6th CPC, Government has granted merger of 50% DA in 2004 and the merged DA is treated as Pay for all purposes. This time no DA merger is granted. Suppose, as in the past, the Government has accepted the demand for merger of 50% DA as on 01.01.2011 when DA crossed 50%, the total salary of an employee at the lowest level as on 01.01.2016 will become Rs.18395/- (7000 + 50% DA 3500 = 10500 + remaining 75% DA as on 01.01.2016 Rs.7875 = 18395). Thus it can be seen that even if no pay commission is appointed by Government, simply by granting DA merger alone the lowest level salary will become more than 18000/- which is recommended by 7th CPC after 21 months study and spending crores of rupees for its functioning.
The Government’s press release further claim that the ratio between lowest and highest salary (compression ratio) is 1:3.12. The highest level employees are Cabinet Secretary and Secretaries of various departments. The recommended salary of the Cabinet Secretary is 2,50000. Government deliberately avoided comparison between salary of lowest employee and highest level employee, instead compared with middle level Class-I officer only. Actual ratio between the lowest and highest salary come to 1:14 (18000:2,50000). No other pay commission has recommended such a huge margin.
Other retrograde recommendations of the 7th CPC are as follows:
1. House Rent Allowance (HRA) rate reduced from 30%, 20% and 10% to 24%, 16% and 8%
2. 52 existing allowances are to be abolished.
3. All interest-free advances including Festival advance, are to be abolished. Only interest bearing advances to be retained.
4. Salary for the second year of Child care leave granted to women employees should be reduced to 80%.
5. For Three Time bound promotions (Assured Carreer Progression) passing examination and other conditions made mandatory.
6. New Pension Scheme (NPS) shall continue, recommended only some cosmetic changes.
7. Contractorisation and casual labour System shall be continued.
8. Outsourcing of Government functions to continue.
9. Employment of retired personnel to be legalized and panel of experienced retired personnel should be kept ready.
10. Filling up of vacancies – commission pointed out that there are six lakhs unfilled vacancies in Central Government services, but no recommendations for filling up the vacancies in a time bound manner by special recruitment.
11. Regularisation of Gramin Dak Sevaks of Postal department – rejected.
12. Increase in minimum pension percentage, Fixed medical Allowance to Pensioners and increment rate – rejected.
Inspite of several round of country wide agitational programmes conducted by NJCA including massive Parliament March, the NDA Government refused to negotiate the demands with the staff side, but declared unilateral implementation of the recommendations without any modifications. The resentment, anger and protest of the entire Central Government employees increased day-by-day and the NJCA decided to go ahead with indefinite strike from 11th July 2016 and preperations and campaigning for making the strike a thundering success went on in full swing. Modi Government understood that if it still refuse to discuss with the NJCA then from 11th July 6 AM onwards the entire Central Government establishments including Railways, Defence, Postal and other departments. will come to standstill marking the commencement of the biggest strike action of the Central Government employees.
It is in this background the Hon’ble Prime Minister directed three Cabinet Ministers including Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitly and Railway Minister Shri. Suresh Prabhu to hold discussion with the NJCA leaders on 30th January 2016. Major demands in the Charter of demands were discussed with particular reference to Improvement in Minimum wage and fitment formula. Issues relating to parity in pension was also discussed. Finally the Ministers assured that a high level committee will be appointed to consider the issues raised by the NJCA.
As no written minutes or communications is forthcoming from the Government regarding the 30th June discussion and assurances, the NJCA decided to go ahead with the strike. Country wide demonstrations were held daily in front of all offices and at all important centres. On 6th July 2016 when the NJCA meeting was in progress, Hon’ble Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh again invited the NCA Leaers for discussion. The Minister reiterated the earlier assurances and told that Finance Minister will issue a press statement making the Government stand clear on the demands.
Accordingly, the Government issued a press statement on 6th July 2016 in which it is stated that – “The Ministers assured the Union leaders that the issues raised by them would be considered by a High Level Committee.”
Thus, the unite struggle of the entire Central Government Employees compelled the unwilling NDA Government to accept the reality that modification in the 7th CPC recommendations is a must and before arriving at a final conclusion the staff side should be given a fair chance to present and discuss the case with the Government. It was assured that the proposed High Level Committee to be appointed by the Government shall complete its task within a time frame.
Advancement in the wages and service conditions of Central Government Employees can be achieved only through the united struggle of all Central Government employees for which the unity built up under the banner of NJCA is to be maintained and strengthened. Further the neo-liberal policy offensives of the NDA Government in the Central Government Employees Sector including privatisation, outsourcing, downsizing, contractorisation, corporatization, winding up of departments, New Pension Scheme etc. can only be resisted and reverted by building up united movement of the entire employees. Even Though the strike is deferred, the Central Government employees shall continue its united struggle against the anti-people and anti-labour policies of the NDA Government. We should self-critically analyze the strength and weakness of the NJCA and shall arrive at proper conclusion for taking corrective measures, if necessary, and also for further unity and advancement. The final outcome of the united struggle is, no doubt, one step forward.