Monday, September 18, 2017

Dear Comrades,

The 19th September 1968 is the red-letter day in the history of Central Government employee’s movement. It is remembered for the brutal attitude of the Establishment against the workers and employees. It is remembered for the valiant fight and great sacrifices of the hundreds and thousands of Central Government employees for a collective cause. That date symbolizes the resurrection of self-respect of the Central Government employees and reassertion of the rights of the employees. The butchering of 17 striking employees at Pathankot, Bikaner and Delhi, the suspensions, dismissals and terminations of thousands of employees across the country, chillingly remind all of us that the present day rights and facilities have not come as bounties from Governments but are the fruits of struggles and sacrifices.

The first ever strike of Central Government employees in independent India commenced on July 11 1960 and continued for five days. That strike was described as civilian rebellion by the then Prime Minister Sri. Jawaharlal Nehru and it was brutally suppressed. The Central Government employees went on that strike demanding improvements and modifications in the 2nd CPC recommendations as the Need Based Minimum Wage concept was rejected by the Commission. Though the strike was suppressed, realization dawned on the Rulers and a need for a negotiation channel for Central Government employees was felt. Sri. Gulzarilal Nanda, the then Home Minister, constituted the Joint Consultative Machinery (JCM) in the year 1966. It was intended that all the issues of the Central Government employees would be solved across the table and there will be no more strikes!

The Need Based Minimum Wage as approved by the 1957 Tripartite Labour Conference, Merger of DA with Pay, Revision of DA formula were the agenda items in the first meeting of JCM. It took more than one and half years to record disagreement and refer the matter to the Board of Arbitration. The Government refused to appoint Board of Arbitration. The Government that created the JCM scheme itself has laid foundation for its destruction in its very first meeting! That is the provocation of the Central Government Employees for going on one-day strike on 19th September 1968!

Confederation of Central Government employees and Workers, All India Railwaymen Federation, All India Defence Employees Federation spearheaded the struggle. The Kerala State Government under the Chief Ministership of Com. E.M.S. Namboodiripad was the only State, which fully supported the strike. The Central Government played every trick to fail the strike. Thousands of employees and their leaders arrested and jailed. To weaken the movement sarkari union was formed! In spite of all the repression the strike was a grand success. The Central Government employees announced loudly and clearly that no amount of repression could deter them in defending their rights!

The Demands of the one day strike are still relevant and important to the employees: Need based Minimum Wage; Full neutralization of rise in prices; withdrawal of proposal to retire employees with 50 years of age or on completion of 25 years of service; vacation of victimization and reinstatement of victimized workers; no retrenchment without equivalent alternative jobs; abolition of contract and casual labour system. After 50 years of that historic strike, still Central Government employees are fighting to attain some of those lofty goals and to retain the other rights and privileges.

Government has snatched our right to pension. The employees are under threat of FR56J and CCS (Pension) Rule 48. Even after lapse of one year, the assurances given by the three Cabinet Ministers of the present day NDA Government to modify and increase the minimum pay and fitment formula recommended by the 7th CPC were not honoured. The employees are subjected to cheating in the matter of Allowances. Silently the Government is going ahead with closure of Departments, Privatisation, and outsourcing. Departments are reeling under the huge shortage of manpower. Inflation is accelerating and DA is decelerating. Grameen Dak Sevaks of Postal Department are on struggle path for their revision of pay and grant of status. The glorious tradition of struggle and sacrifice of 19th September 1968 Strike is showing us the beckoning light to face all these challenges and withstood the coming onslaughts. Let’s commemorate the inspiring memory of 1968 September 19th strike. Let’s imbibe that Great Spirit! Let’s marshal all our strength and march ahead united to safeguard the interests of the Central Government employees in particular and the interest of working class in general.

Red Salute to the 19th Sept. 1968 Strike participants! 
Red Salute to the Martyrs!

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