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on the Eve of 70th year of NFPTE

 

                 March Forward To Greater Glory- Our Tradition to Carry Forward

NFTE 25 years

-        O P Gupta

( Excerpts from the    Silver Jubilee Session Jaipur Report Submitted by O P Gupta  Ap 1980)

NFPTE is not the starting point of the P&T Trade unionism. It is an important landmark, when the Government , partly in its desire to unify the trade unions with a view to yoke their effective cooperation  in implementation of 5 year plans and partly under the compulsions created by UPTW, came forward to rationalize TU movement, by surrendering its right to recognize new unions- a license to disrupt the TU movement. However Govt did not honour its commitment for long and started recognizing new unions from 1968 with the result that we have  now 68 recognised unions.

Late DadaGhosh gave life to Realignment scheme. Late K G Bose contributed much to bring new concept and militant attitude in the P&T movement. Comrade K.Ramamurthy’s contribution as SG UPTW and later as GS  P3 during 1960 strike are worth recording. There were many others like Mrs Nayama Haider, K S Pitkar, PSR Anjaneyalu who did a lot in consolidating the organization.

In the NFPTE we had not adopted a self righteous attitude of condemning others who have left.

Our Union (AITEEU Cl3) is one of the youngest as the Telecom services themselves have grown after independence  . Before independence we were unwanted appendix to Telegraph Unions. When UPTW started organizing the Telecom workers after 1947, there response was extremely enthusiastic. Therefore in 1949 strike threat, arrest and victimization were more extensive in Telecom wing. Many ladies imprisoned.

In organizing telecom workers contributions of comrades V S Menon,S K Pakrasi, K G Bose, Moni Bose, Majeedh, Venugopal, N K Saran, Yusuf paisule, K N Sharma, Janak, Nambeesan cannot be ignored. Many others like K L Shrma, B P Sharma, kapoor,Namboodri, AyyappanKutty are stll active.

Despite multiplicity of cadres with so called conflicting interests, varied growth of consciousness, existent of all political views, some time making vulgar criticism beyond the accepted norms, we have remained together. We have  firmly believed that we in the telecom or others in the other wings cannot growat the cost of others, but only together.

Vanguards cannot fight the battle for all. They can only lead. Final victory depends upon the performance of the army.

We have generally taken decisions by consensus as differences amongst us are insignificant compared to the differences of our employer. We have found compromises are necessary for consolidating our gains and for the growth of organization. Our tactical line has beenthat of Sivaji  in contrast to Maharana Pratap.  Shivaji believed in hitting, winning, consolidating the gains before again hitting.

Everyone in TU has the right to get protection. Being a multi cadre union we cannot ignore the interests of any cadre howsoever small it may be. Unity can be on the basis of all the cadres advancing  together and not one at the cost of others. The majority has to carry the minority along with it in its own interest so that none stalls the advance

Expression of Views and debate is a necessary pre requisite of democracy, but differences can be expressed and common approach evolved without causing disruption. We have believed that neither majority should get intoxicated nor minority has a veto. We have  advocated for broad based election of office bearers to ensure that opposition is not kept away and allowed to disrupt from outside.

We have struggled hard to evolve a common approach. We have not agreed to eliminate persons on the basis of political social or personal views. We have abrogated our right of imposition of persons from the top to replace others who differ with the leadership. The only method to protect the democracy is to compel the workers to resolve their differences mutually. After all, it is they who have to live together. We feel justifiably proud that NFPTE has all groups within it.

Our approach to the government as our employer has been constructive. Neither we support them blindly, nor we oppose them permanently. We decide our position on issue to issue. Our federation has always taken a reasonable and rational approach in the settlement of demands. It has firmly believed that improvement of services and betterment of workers are inseparable. Efficiency of services and cordial employee- employer relationship at the lower level can be maintained only if irritants are resolved

During  this 25 years of existence of NFPTE, our union has played a leading role as catalytic agent. Our emphasis on Good will in the matter of staff relations was ridiculed as applying   Muska.  Muska from a position of strength does not mean surrender but avoids show of muscles.

Efficiency in our services has been deteriorating mainly because of the standard of equipments on the one hand and the department protecting and favouring corrupt persons on the other hand demoralized the employees. The economic difficulty makes many to surrender to temptations. This pattern has to change. Nevertheless workers have to play a role and let us do our best in this direction.

Comrades, we are closing 25 years of fruitful existence with bright prospects in the years ahead. We are strong enough to succeed and thus march forward taking all others along with us towards greater glory.

Comrades, improvement of workers a lot does not depend on one man or even  on  leadership. We can guide the movement but cannot become the movement


 

 

 

The saga and Legacy of NFPTE- 60 Years

-        R Pattabiraman

The Postal and telecom employees have been observing the diamond jubilee celebration of our great NFPTE formed in November 24, 1954. It is our bounden duty to retrace our driven path to make our young generation to know the cherishable events of our history.

The saga of P&T trade union movement has its own integral part of our freedom movement since the beginning of 20th century. Organized movement of Postal and telegraph workers were accelerated by  our forefathers Henry Barton and Tarapada by forming unions in  Telegraph, postal and RMS. The trials and tribulations, struggles and sacrifices are classics to the core and stand as our own epics. The call of Tarapada to organize yourself with a purpose, with determination and find your power still inspires us all. Workers are not beggars, they have right to choose reverberates even today.

The postmen struggle of 1946 led by senior leader V G Dalvi and  DadaGhosh is viewed not for any sectional demands alone but a struggle to expedite  the achievement of freedom. The need of carrying forward the tradition of Tarapada of AIPRMS by installing new leadership was felt by DadaGhosh and others and that fulfilled the advent of  young and energetic visionary  Op Gupta to our movement.  Then AITUC leaders Com BT Ranadive and Dange helped in this regard.

  The efforts of young O P Gupta with the help of DadaGhosh , K Ramamurthi and others  to  establish a single union  from  the bush of multiple unions was  accepted thro a merger resolution  and the attempt of unifying the movement was greatly achieved by formation of UPTW just two days before independence on Aug 13, 1947. The post men union was left out. The budding independent sudeshi govt led by Nehru faced partition problems, communal tension and Gandhi’s assassination etc. The communists were in the mood of their assessment that it was possible to overthrow the new government with general strikes.

The pay commission and DA issues made UPTW to issue strike notice, first ever by O p gupta . The leaders were arrested.  Gupta was detained  for 14 months and even habeas corpus was not allowed. Leaders like K G Bose and JanakGupta  were dismissed. Com K.Ramamurthi became SG of UPTW when Gupta was in jail. The need of realignment of Unions with federal setup was felt by both the leadership and GOI. Shri JagajivanRam and Rafi kidwai initiated the scheme and the formation of NFPTE on Novemebr 24, 1954 thus became a historic occasion. It was a federal setup of 9 unions of postal, RMS, Telegraph, Telecom and Administration wings with a compulsory federation. Comrades Dalvi and Dadaghosh became the first president and secretary General.

 Besides the important issues of all walks of employees, the issue of Wiping out discrimination of Class 4 and 3, issues of casual labour and ED were all takenup by NFPTE. On the issues of second pay commission strike notice was served against Nehru Government. There was a glorious strike of 5 days of all CG employees  during july 1960. The SG of NFPTE com P S R Anjeneyalu was handcuffed with chains and many leaders got arrested.  Employees shot dead on firing. Thousands of employees were terminated, suspended, arrested. ESMA was launched to threaten the strikers. The repression was let loose and was in great order. Recognition of NFPTE was withdrawn. Com O P Gupta with his own inimitable style undergone indefinite fast with E X Joseph to restore recognition. Com D Gnanaiah’s arrival at the NFPTE  Hqrs added momentum and  he played a prime role in the formation of whitley council type JCM. The conditionality of abjuring Strikes for accepting JCM was rejected forthright by the leadership.  The powerful one day strike of Sep19, 1968 of all CG employees on the issue of need based Minimum wage and compulsory arbitration of JCM issue was also faced worst oppression and severe attacks from Government.  The next generation leaders like Jagan emerged as heroes of the strike and got dismissal orders. The strike was led in P&T by SG com Gnanaiah.  Ninty thousand employees were suspended and thousands were terminated and got arrested. The recognition of NFPTE was withdrawn. Com Gupta and Gnanaiah both had gone on indefinite fast fighting topless- bottomless recognition that is no federation and no grass root districts and branches. The recognition was restored but govt made efforts to dismantle NFPTE by forming FNPTO under the leadership of Com Ramamurthy.

The split in communist party also made its adverse impact on NFPTE. Constant tussle and difference of opinions were becoming the part of NFPTE life during the time of 1974 Railway strike and Emergency of Indra Gandhi period. NFPTE was severly attacked during the emergency and its main Organs like P&T labour, weekly correspondence, telecom were not dispatched from the post office. Intervention of shri sanjay Gandhi was also there.  Comrade  Jagan boldly took the risk of dispatching the journals  thro Tamilnadu Organ Olikkathir and made  history . The legal battle of com Gupta helped us to restore  publishing our journals again .   The impact of emergency made us all to reunite in NFPTE and at Bangalore federal council during 1978 Gupta became the Secretary General of NFPTE.

The strike notice issued for bonus by Gupta and Ramamurthy after the announcement   of the same for railways during CharanSingh period roused the workers and the issue was settled and com Gnanaiah signed the agreement of bonus. The trade union leader and tough Minister Stephen was cautioned  by Gupta in the presence of thousands of workers  to give confidence to all that the silver jubilee celebration would coin prime  demands like Two promotions and achieve the same. The Telecom wing gave shramdhan to postal comrades for achieving promotion to lakhs of senior employees who were all suffered more than 20 years without any single promotion on a single day on the issuance of order.

The P&T department was bifurcated in 1985 and   it led the formation of NFTE- NFPE two federations. The conference held at Calcutta in 1986 resolved to keep NFPTE also because of emotional attachment of many leaders from both sides..

NFTE inherited from the great tradition of NFPTE the following qualities- toleration of all views,  fighting the cause of needy the lower level workers, always fighting out any sort of discrimination, never banging the doors of negotiation and preferring negotiated settlement, if negotiation fails never fail to hit, if hitting then hitting hard, no individual militancy- even one step with all only- things may be difficult  to do but  nothing is  impossible  attitude- unity at any cost even at the cost of oneself- no self patting or ego  or eulogizing, no political overtones etc.

The great struggles of Gupta- Chandrasekar- Jagan made the historic achievement of regularization lakhs of  casual labours, thousands of RTPs during 1986-87. The 20 days strike at the time of falling of V P singh government on the issue  of MTNL Rs 100 and continuous consistent struggles settled the wonderful Cadre restructuring and BCR issue in 1990 which found the new technology oriented cadres like TTA, TM and SrTOA. The outsourcing move was stalled by 1995 strike and the left out thousands of mazdoors got work throughout the years.   Unfortunately due to internal differences during the last years of 90s led to the formation of BSNLEU under the leadership of Com Namboodri.

NFTE boldly faced the challenge thrown upon by Vajpayee Govt- formation of corporate company BSNL. The 3 days united strike of NFTE, FNTO and BTEF secured us Government Pension by Government. The challenges are galore before us. The secured pension should be safeguarded. We should fight for the financial viability and revival of our company BSNL. The present leadership would strive its best to follow the footsteps of our great tradition.

The longings for united movement have its own sense. Let us give our ears to the call of the time and forward with the goals and ambition of our great leaders.


 

 

OUR HERITAGE

                                         The Great Citadel of Transformative Years

R Pattabiraman

The saga of P&T trade union movement has its own integral part of our freedom movement since the beginning of 20th century. Organized movement of Postal and telegraph workers were accelerated by  our forefathers Henry Barton and Tarapada by forming unions in  Telegraph, postal and RMS. The trials and tribulations, struggles and sacrifices are classics to the core and stand as our own epics. The call of Tarapada to organize yourself with a purpose, with determination and find your power still inspires us all. Workers are not beggars, they have right to choose reverberates even today.

The postmen struggle of 1946 led by senior leader V G Dalvi and  DadaGhosh is viewed not for any sectional demands alone but a struggle to expedite  the achievement of freedom. The need of carrying forward the tradition of Tarapada of AIPRMS by installing new leadership was felt by DadaGhosh and others and that fulfilled the advent of  young and energetic visionary  Op Gupta to our movement.  Then AITUC leaders Com BT Ranadive and Dange helped in this regard.

  The efforts of young O P Gupta with the help of DadaGhosh , K Ramamurthi and others  to  establish a single union  from  the bush of multiple unions was  accepted thro a merger resolution  and the attempt of unifying the movement was greatly achieved by formation of UPTW just two days before independence on Aug 13, 1947. The post men union was left out. The budding independent sudeshi govt led by Nehru faced partition problems, communal tension and Gandhi’s assassination etc. The communists were in the mood of their assessment that it was possible to overthrow the new government with general strikes.

The pay commission and DA issues made UPTW to issue strike notice, first ever by O p gupta . The leaders were arrested.  Gupta was detained  for 14 months and even habeas corpus was not allowed. Leaders like K G Bose and JanakGupta  were dismissed. Com K.Ramamurthi became SG of UPTW when Gupta was in jail. The need of realignment of Unions with federal setup was felt by both the leadership and GOI.

Shri JagajivanRam and Rafi kidwai initiated the scheme and the formation of NFPTE on Novemebr 24, 1954 thus became a historic occasion. It was a federal setup of 9 unions of postal, RMS, Telegraph, Telecom and Administration wings with a compulsory federation. Comrades Dalvi and Dadaghosh became the first president and secretary General.

This was how Our great father figure O.P.Gupta narrated that event in  silver jublie session at Jaipur.

“ NFPTE is not the starting point of the p&T tradeunionism.It is an important landmark when the govt partly in its desire to unify the  unions  and partly  under the compulsions created by UPTW. ..Late DadaGhosh gave life to realignment scheme and K. G. Bose contributed much to bring new concept and militant attitude in the movement. Com K.Ramamurthy’s contribution  as SG UPTW and during 1960 strike worth recording…In the NFPTE we had not adopted a self righteous attitude of conducting others who have left .. Despite multiplicity of cadres, varied growth of consciousness, existence of all political viewssome time making vulgar criticism beyond the accepted norms, we have remained together. Vanguards cannot fight the battle for all. They can only lead. Final victory depends upon the performance of the army. W e have taken decisions by consesnsus as differences amongst us are insignificant comparing our differences with our employer. We have found compromises are necessary for consolidating our gains and for the growth of our organization”

Besides the important issues of all walks of employees, the issue of Wiping out discrimination of Class 4 and 3, issues of casual labour and ED were all takenup by NFPTE. On the issues of second pay commission strike notice was served against Nehru Government. There was a glorious strike of 5 days of all CG employees  during july 1960. The SG of NFPTE com P S R Anjeneyalu was handcuffed with chains and many leaders got arrested.  Employees shot dead on firing. Thousands of employees were terminated, suspended, arrested. ESMA was launched to threaten the strikers. The repression was let loose and was in great order. Recognition of NFPTE was withdrawn. Com O P Gupta with his own inimitable style undergone indefinite fast with E X Joseph to restore recognition.

The powerful one day strike of Sep19, 1968 of all CG employees on the issue of need based Minimum wage and compulsory arbitration of JCM issue was also faced worst oppression and severe attacks from Government.  The next generation leaders like Jagan emerged as heroes of the strike and got dismissal orders. The strike was led in P&T by SG com Gnanaiah.  Ninty thousand employees were suspended and thousands were terminated and got arrested. The recognition of NFPTE was withdrawn. Com Gupta and Gnanaiah both had gone on indefinite fast fighting topless- bottomless recognition that is no federation and no grass root districts and branches. The recognition was restored but govt made efforts to dismantle NFPTE by forming FNPTO under the leadership of Com Ramamurthy.

NFPTE was severely attacked during the emergency and its main Organs like P&T labour, weekly correspondence, telecom were not dispatched from the post office. Intervention of shri sanjay Gandhi was also there.  Comrade  Jagan boldly took the risk of dispatching the journals  thro Tamilnadu Organ Olikkathir and made  history The impact of emergency made us all to reunite in NFPTE and at Bangalore federal council during 1978 Gupta became the Secretary General of NFPTE.

The strike notice issued for bonus by Gupta and Ramamurthy after the announcement   of the same for railways during CharanSingh period roused the workers and the issue was settled and com Gnanaiah signed the agreement of bonus.

The P&T department was bifurcated in 1985 and   it led the formation of NFTE- NFPE two federations. NFTE inherited from the great tradition of NFPTE the following qualities- toleration of all views,  fighting the cause of needy the lower level workers, always fighting out any sort of discrimination, never banging the doors of negotiation and preferring negotiated settlement, if negotiation fails never fail to hit, if hitting then hitting hard, no individual militancy- even one step with all only- things may be difficult  to do but  nothing is  impossible  attitude- unity at any cost even at the cost of oneself- no self patting or ego  or eulogizing, no political overtones etc

The great struggles of Gupta- Chandrasekar- Jagan made the historic achievement of regularization lakhs of  casual labours, thousands of RTPs. The great settlement of Time bound promotions and cadre restructuring made lakhs of people to get their automatic promotion and vertical higher cadre promotion. More than 3 lakhs employess benefitted in these period. The yester day’s daily labourers  have become today’s Junior engineer by  and Telecom technicians by their hard work and opportunities created  thro  the struggles conducted by the unions. The real transformation of poor and downtrodden to the status of middle class is happened in our Telecom movement.

NFTE under the leadership of O P Gupta boldly faced the challenge thrown upon by Vajpayee Govt- formation of corporate company BSNL. The 3 days united strike of NFTE, FNTO and BTEF secured us Government Pension by Government.  It was one of the greatest achievements of any Indian trade union movement. This was unique for BSNL and no other PSU got this  kind of  safeguard in social security namely pension.

The challenges are many and we have to transcend them.  The greatest task is how to conciliate our wage settlement with the financial viability of BSNL. How to safeguard our networks like towers and how to advance us thro new technologies to match us with our fiercest competitors are some burning issues need some light.

Let us imbibe  our tradition of advancing the status of workers thro toleration, struggle and some sacrifices.

 

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ஹெகல் மார்க்ஸ் எங்கெல்ஸ் ஐந்து கட்டுரைகள்                                                                                   முன்னுரை மார்க்ஸ் மாபெரும் மாமேதை என்கிற சித்திரம் பொதுப்புத்தியிலேயே இன்று ஏற்கப்படுகிற ஒன்று .  அவரின் வளர்ச்சி , மகிழ்ச்சி , துன்பம் , போராட்டங்கள் , குடும்பத்தார்கள் - உறவுகளை பேணுதல் , அவரின் attitude, பெருமை - குறைகள் குறித்து ஆங்கிலம் மற்றும் பிற மொழிகளில் ஏராள ஆய்வு புத்தகங்கள் வெளிவந்துள்ளன. இனியும் வரலாம். அதில் காணப்படும் பல செய்திகள் தமிழ் வாசகர்களை சென்றடையவில்லை. மார்க்ஸ்- எங்கெல்ஸ் அவர்கள் கால சூழ்நிலையில் படித்த இளைஞர்களாக, சமுக அவலங்களை எதிர்த்து நியாயம் கேட்கும் ஆவேச போராளிகளாக, வருங்கால சமூகம் சோசலிச சமூகமாக கட்டமைக்கப்படவேண்டும் என அவர்களுக்கு முன்பு பேசிய பலரின் கருத்தாக்கத்தை வளப்படுத்தி அதற்கான நடைமுறை திட்டம் ஒன்றை அளிக்கும்வரை எப்படியெல்லாம் வாழ்ந்தார்கள்- அவர்கள் மறையும்போது இருந்த சூழல் என்ன என்பதை இக்கட்டுரைகள் ஓரளவிற்காவது பேசும் என நம்புகிறேன். மார்க்சை தெய்வநிலைக்கு உயர்த்தும் மனோபாவம் கொண்டவர்களுக்கு