Analogy VthPay Commission

The NFIR’s unstinted efforts before the Vth Central Pay Commission were very commendable and known to many. The whole cadre led by the General Secretary, NFIR, rose to the expectations of Railwaymen spread over 740 categories, minutely understanding the pinching issues of each category, prepared an exhaustive and detailed brief with a view to benefiting the Railwaymen.


The major task fallen upon the new team of NFIR Office Bearers was “preparation for tendering evidence before the Vth Central Pay Commission”. The Federation leadership took initiative without loss of time in analysing the conditions prevailing in various categories of Railways and marathon internal discussions were held at New Delhi during the first half of December, 1995.

Responding to the invitation received from Vth CPC to tender oral evidence, the delegates of NFIR had appeared before Commission from 18 th to 22 nd December, 1995 and tendered oral evidence exhaustively covering the issues related to all the categories on Indian Railways. The General Secretary, NFIR made presentation in a very elaborate manner in respect of job content, duties and responsibilities besides adverse working conditions and unsatisfactory service conditions before the Commission. It was also pleaded that duties being performed by Railway employees were not comparable with any other Department or category and in view of uncommon, hazardous and strenuous nature of jobs undertaken by the Railwaymen and majority of them working at remote places with no minimum facilities for leading life, they deserve to be treated on a special footing and recommended better pay scales, allowances, etc.

Hunger Strike by JCM Leaders, Demanding 3rd Interim Relief

The Leaders of JCM Constituent Organisations have undertaken indefinite Hunger Strike in front of Vth Central Pay Commision's Office at New Delhi from 8th July, 1996. On behalf of NFIR Sarvshri M. Raghaviah General Secretary, NFIR, Guman Singh, Joint General Secretary and R. P. Bhatnagar, Treasurer undertook indefinite "Fast". The Hunger Strike was called off on 13th July, 1996 as the Government conceded grant of 3rd instalment of Interim Relief to the Central Government Employees.

Retrograde Recommendations of Vth CPC

The Vth CPC had given its report on 30th January, 1997 to the Government. The said report had generated serious disappointment and resentment among the Central Government employees, particularly the Railwaymen, as many of the recommendations were retrograde. The pay fixation formula recommended by the Commission amounted to reduction of take-home-pay of the employee, while minimum of the lowest pay scale was also very low.

Staff side JCM took note of the serious situation developed in the country consequent upon the Government’s decision to implement the retrograde recommendations of the Pay Commission and demanded the Government to modify negative recommendations after dialogue with JCM constituent organisations. As the Government was adamant, a decision was taken to give call for “Indefinite General Strike” by the Central Government Employees. NFIR being a major constituent of the JCM took immediate action, convened the Working Committee meeting on 7 th August, 1997, wherein it was decided that NFIR Unions should serve Strike Notice on the respective General Managers on 4 th September, 1997 and launch Indefinite Strike from 24 th September, 1997 on important demands among many, revision of fixation formula, fixation of pension to senior citizens. All the NFIR Unions have served Strike Notice along with Charter of demands on General Managers of Zonal Railways on 19th September, 1997 while thousands of employees took out rallies in support of Strike Dicision.

The Government was wiser to invite the JCM leaders for talks on the demands and talks commenced on 6 th September, 1997 i.e., after serving the strike notices on the General Managers on 4 th September, 1997. On behalf of NFIR S/Shri Mahendra Pratap and M. Raghavaiah participated in the talks assisted by other NFIR Office Bearers. After continued marathon discussions between Group of Ministers and the JCM Staff Side Leaders from 6 th September to 11 th September, 1997, a negotiated settlement was reached for revising pay fixation formula i.e., 40% pay fixation for serving employees and similar pension fixation for retired employees, revision of annual increments of Group ‘D’ categories and revision of pay scale S-13 as Rs.7450-11500 and upward revision of minimum pay of Group ‘D’ employees. The negotiated settlement was a land mark event in the history of JCM and as well NFIR.

Vth CPC's Anomalies

Several anomalies have cropped up consequent to implementation of pay scales recommended by Vth CPC. The Federation raised all such anomalies in the Departmental Anomalies Committee and as well in National Anomalies Committee. While the result of discussions was not satisfactory, in the case of following categories anomalies rectified and orders got issued by the Railway Ministry:-

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Productivity Linked Bonu

Agreement signed between the Railway Board and the two Federations(All India Railwaymen’s Federation and National Federation of Indian Railwaymen) on 22 nd November, 1979, states that.. “The Indian Railways are a departmental undertaking of the Government of India and as such, are excluded from the purview of Payment of Bonus Act. The Railwaymen have, however, been representing for a long time that being industrial employees they should be covered by the Payment of Bonus Act and paid bonus accordingly. Discussions have been held since August 1979 with the representatives of the Railwaymen to see if any solution can be found to this problem since the railway employees are not covered by the Payment of Bonns Act, the Railways being a departmental undertaking. The chief consideration borne in the mind was the important role of the Railways as an infrastructural activity in the performance of the economy as a whole. Having regard to this, it was felt by the Government that any solution to the problem would have to stress higher productivity on the part of the railwaymen which in turn would result in better performance by the Railways. This line of thought suggested the desirability of , accepting the concept of productivity-linked bonus in lieu of bonus on the lines of Payment of Bonus Act. After discussion held in a very cordial manner, the representatives of All India Railwaymen’s Federation and National Federation of Indian Railwaymen responded in a spirit of coordination to the Government’s suggestion for accepting the concept of Productivity Linked Bonus. Having regard to the above consideration, the Government have in consultation with the representatives of railwaymen evolved a scheme for payment of Productivity Linked Bonus to railwaymen. The Railwaymen represented by the All India Railwaymen’s Federation with their central office at 4, State Entry Road, New Delhi and National Federation of Indian Railwaymen with their central office at 166/1, ” Panchkuian Road, New Delhi (now at 3, Chelmsford Road, New Delhi) and the This PLB Scheme was accepted by the two Federations (NFIR & AIRF) when Government of India represented by Railway Board have accepted this scheme. The scheme having been evolved by an agreement between the two recognised Federations and the Railway Board bilaterally, is reviewed periodically. During the year 1995, the Federation insisted that the rate of PLB should be enhanced upward from Rs.1600/-. The Government have considered and revised the rate from Rs.1600 to Rs.2500 on 20-9-995 through an Ordinance. The Minister for Railways is the final authority in this matter and no role is envisaged in the agreement either of the Finance Ministry or the Finance Minister. The unilateral intervention of the Finance Ministry causes anguish and resentment amongst the Railwaymen all over the country. Salary Eligibility Ceiling As the Government had imposed salary eligibility ceiling for payment of PLB, vital categories viz., Drivers, Station Masters, Guards, Section Controllers, Section Engineers, etc., were not covered by the norms. Thus they were denied payment of PL Bonus. These categories are directly related to freight and passenger movement and equally responsible to increase of productivity. Salary Eligibility ceiling had resulted in a discriminatory treatment, while one section of workers were paid bonus, the other section were denied the same. The Federation took up the matter with the Railway Ministry and demanded that the discrimination should end and payment of bonus should be ensured to all group ‘C’ and ‘D’ employees of Indian Railways. As the Government had not responded to the genuine demand, the Federation had taken a decision to launch agitation and accordingly mass Dharnas, Hunger Strike, Demonstrations were held by NFIR Unions during the period September, 1996 and as a follow up action in support of demand, the Federation rank and file had undertaken FAST on 2 nd October, 1996 – Mahatma Gandhi Birth Day – at all important places on Indian Railways. The Federation also warned the Railway Ministry that agitation would be intensified paralysing services if the bonus is not paid to all Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ employees irrespective of their salaries. Sensing the grave situation developing on Indian Railways, the Cabinet met on 17 th October, 1996 and decided to remove salary eligibility ceiling paving the way for payment of PLB to all Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ employees. This is one of the historic achievements to the credit of NFIR.