Trade unions have condemned the latest central government order derecognising two postal unions — National Federation of Postal Employees (NFPE) and All India Postal Employees’ Union (AIPEU-Group C) — for violating central services rules, alleging that they lent their funds to further political activities.
In an order passed on Wednesday, the Department of Posts said both these organisations violated rules 5 & 6 of the Central Civil Service (Recognition of Services Association) Rules, 1993 as they lent their funds to further the propagation of political views.
The matter pertains to the donation of Rs 30,000 by the Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers (CCGEW), of which NFPE and AIPEU are constituent organisations to the farmers’ movement. The postal department also alleged that the unions paid money to Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and CPI (M) from their own funds.
The central service rules lay down that the service associations have been formed primarily with the objective of promoting the interests of their members and prohibits the use of union funds to further any type of political activities. NFPE is the largest federation in the postal sector with eight postal employees’ unions, including the AIPEU, affiliated to it.
The union in its response accepted paying money to the farmers’ movement, as a standard practice of providing solidarity to the protesting workers and contended that the amount paid to CPI(M) was part of a personal transaction.
The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) said in a statement that the action has been taken by the postal department based on a flimsy complaint against the NFPE and the AIPEU and it is a common practice to extend solidarity to protesting workers.
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“It is nothing new in India that trade unions extend support, solidarity and financial help to the struggling sister unions and workers of different sectors. There is no illegality or misconduct in these internationally accepted solidarity actions,” it said.
Besides, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (Citu) said the allegation that the two unions paid money to it is frivolous and dubious as the amount given was their affiliation fee payable to World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), routed through Citu — a fellow affiliate of WFTU.
“The NFPE and AIPEU have been consistently opposing and mobilising employees in the postal sector against the destructive policies of the corporatisation and privatisation of the country’s postal services through multi-pronged routes through various forms of trade union actions. Thus the derecognition of NFPE and P-lll union is itself a politically motivated action,” it said in a statement.
RN Parashar, generel secretary, CCGEW, said they will take the matter to the judiciary. “The latest order is a ploy to prevent the two unions from taking part in the procedure of membership verification, which is currently underway, so that our rivals can gain some traction among the employees,” added Parashar.