Nearly 50,000 employees of Indian Railways will march to Parliament today demanding a hike in minimum pay and withdrawal of the National Pension System (NPS). The employees, who get salary as per the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, want the minimum wage to be raised to Rs 26,000 from Rs 18000. The 7th Pay Commission had recommended a 14.27 percent hike in basic pay, raising minimum pay from Rs 7,000 to Rs 18,000 month with fitment factor 2.57 times, which was approved by the government in 2016.
Various unions of Railways employees have announced to join the protest march to Parliament demanding a hike in minimum pay beyond the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission. No rail services will be disrupted due to the stir. The demand to scrap the NPS is one of the main demands made by the central government employees. Besides Railways employees, other central government employees have been asking to raise minimum pay beyond the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission.
“Under the NPS, the defined minimum pension or family pension is no more guaranteed for those employees who came in government service on or after 2004, although they are regularly contributing 10 per cent of their wages every month towards this scheme,” Shiv Gopal Mishra, who led the representation of the central government employees over discussions on 7th Pay Commission. “Most of those affected are youngsters and they are very upset and angry,” he added.
n February 2016, the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) had conducted a secret ballot for its members to decide the future course of action if its demands related to 7th Pay Commission and NPS weren’t met. Ninety-five per cent of the 9,00,000 railwaymen who voted supported a strike. These employees included railway men from across the country, including 17 zones and seven production units of the Indian Railways. Social security to retired government employees is virtually withdrawn with the introduction of the NPS from January 2004, said Mishra.
“There is anger and anguish not just among railwaymen, but also among bureaucrats, over this. We have been assured again and again that our demands will be met, but nothing has happened so far. If they do not relent, then we will have to stick together and the next step could well be disruptive,” Mishra warned.
Central government employees have been asking to raise minimum pay to Rs 26,000 and fitment factor 3.68 times. However, the government is considering to hike minimum pay to Rs 21,000 from Rs 18,000 and fitment factor to 3.00 times from 2.57 times, which was recommended by the 7th Pay Commission.