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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Postal staff call off strike after assurance of no merger or closure, for now

Postal employees have called off their country-wide indefinite strike from January 17 after the Government agreed not to merge any post office, only relocate some. Also, no L2 Railway Mail Service sorting office will be closed, at least for three years.
The agreement was reached between the Department of Posts and the Joint Council of Action, representing 5.5 lakh postal employees belonging to four national federations after five rounds of talks that ended on January 13.
“We are 80 per cent satisfied with the agreement. Based on the written assurances by the Secretary, Posts and on the assurance that a meeting with the Minister of State for Communications will be arranged shortly on unresolved issues, the JCA has decided to all off the strike,” Mr M Krishnan, Secretary General, National Federation of Postal Employees, told Business Line.
To streamline core mail operations, already under threat from emails and courier services, the Postal Board had proposed to redesign the first class mail network, which is divided into L1 and L2 sorting categories. It had proposed to close down some offices in L2 category.
“The Chairperson (Postal Board) assured us that L2 mail offices will not be closed for three years”, said Mr Krishnan. The JCA said it was not opposed to modernisation of the postal department provided jobs were not threatened.
As part of the redesign, Automatic Mail Processing Centres are being installed in Delhi and Kolkata. Once these are installed, the consolidation of mail offices will be discussed with the staff side. The JCA was also assured that merger of mail offices in Mumbai and Chennai would be put on hold till new sorting machines were in place, said Mr Krishnan.
As regards, merger of post offices, the JCA held these could be “shifted in cases of litigation and poor condition of buildings” and that “closure should be accompanied by simultaneous relocation.”
The Department agreed that there was a need for rationalisation of postal network instead of resorting to temporary merger of post offices. Circles will identify areas where new post offices are required and would also identify post offices that do not meet the norms and do not have sufficient work and will submit a report to the Directorate”, said Mr Krishnan.
It was agreed that ‘unresolved’ issues such as providing civil servant status to over three lakh Gramin Dak Sevaks, wage revision etc. would be discussed later.
Courtesy : Hindu Business Line

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