AIRRBEA Circular No. 51 dated 15-05-2018
It was a day of grand celebration to mark the great and glorious achievement dedicated to the fond memory of our beloved leader DADA D K Mukherjee. The special CC meeting was called on achieving Pension parity in legal fight with our firm conviction right of RRB Staff to get the Parity of not only Pay, Allowances & some benefits, but of Superannuation Benefits as a part of the Wage structure, as awarded by the NIT on 30.04.1990 and as confirmed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in its successive orders in 2001 & 2002.
The Meeting was held at hotel Kanishka, Gandhi Nagar with all Core Committee Members on the Dais at about 10.45 AM. The House reverberated with applause when Shri P S Rajagopal, our Senior Advocate in the Hon’ble Karnataka High Court which delivered the historic judgment on Pension Parity in the matter of WP filed by the AIRRBEA (WP No. 20034/2003), who was our special guest on the occasion. We may recall that he was our advocate in the legal fight in the Karnataka High Court against the Mahalik Committee report to delink the RRB Staff from the salary structure of the Banking Industry. AIRRBEA was the only organisation fought against that draconian report and succeeded by getting it set aside. The house warmly felicitated Shri Rajagopal and our veteran with legal conviction Com. R G Nargund. Com. Nargund attended the historic celebration in spite of his serious illness being unable to move without support of other members. Shri Rajagopal while expressing his profound happiness over the well coveted order / judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 25.04.2018, pointed out that he was really feeling elated that now RRBians are destined to be regarded as full-fledged Bank employees. He had a feeling of pride that he took up the case in 2003 when DADA Mukherjee requested him to take up this very serious and sensitive claim, with the conviction that RRB Staff must be recognized at par with other NCBs because of their devoted Banking Services rendered to poorer sections of people, as recognized by the High Courts and also deeply recognized by the Apex Court more than once.
Com Amanulla Khan, veteran leader of the AIIEA & Com Srinivas Babu, leader of BEFI heartily congratulated the AIRRBEA and its rank and file for pursuing the matter of Parity of Wage Structure against many odds and at the face of Government withdrawing the Social Security from all Government / Public Sector including Financial Sector. This achievement has a very big impact on the struggles of not only the RRB brethren, but also on the struggles of other sections of working Class in India and elsewhere too. This has great significance in the background of neoliberal policies being pursued by Governments in various Countries including in India where the assured pension of workers is being snatched away and the working class everywhere are waging resistance movements unitedly to face the challenges.
Secretary General explained the significance of this historic judgment of the Supreme Court dated 25.04.2018 upholding fully the judgment of Hon’ble Karnataka High Court dated 22.03.2011, granting not only Pension Parity but other demand of AIRRBEA, Computer Increment in line with those in Sponsor Banks / NCBs. He highlighted the various aspects of the Policies of the GOI, the struggles in Banking Industry in general and the struggles of AIRRBEA for all sections of the RRB Staff in particular to secure the rights of Parity in all respects, and also pointed out the followings as matter of consideration / understanding for all of us.
Broadly speaking, followings are the salient features of the scheme of Pension which is to be implemented in RRBs within 90 days from the date of order i.e. 25.04.2018, through the Government order with retrospective effect: –
The Scheme in RRB is also to be in lieu of EPS, 1995, which is now existing, as also in lieu of CPF as in case of sponsor Banks/ NCBs.
As per the NCB scheme the coverage is from 01.01.1986. Those who retired between 01.01.1986 and 01.11.1993 were covered by the Pension Scheme subject to OPTION exercised by them. Those who joined the Sponsor Bank/ NCBs after 01.11.1993 were covered by the scheme compulsorily without any scope of any option.
So, in our case, as the GOI did not implement this scheme in RRBs in time (in 1995 /1996), now a cutoff date has to be fixed, may be the date of notification by the GOI within 3 months, and as cutoff date is to be fixed as above, then all the employees retiring between 01.01.1986 and this cutoff date in all RRBs must be covered with allowing option to be exercised by them. Any employee joining RRB after this date i.e. new cutoff date to be fixed from the date of GOI notification must be covered by this scheme compulsorily as done in case of the cutoff date fixed on 01.11.1993 when the actual Pension Payment started in Sponsor Banks/ NCBs.
This scope allowed in 1993 in Sponsor Banks is lost in case of RRBs because of unlawful denial of the above scheme to RRB staff at that time in 1993/1995.
So, now there is no alternative but to fix up a prospective cutoff date, for commencement of Payment of Pension and a cutoff date similar to that of 01.11.1993 to implement the scheme now after a lapse of more than 23 years from which date the scheme is to be implemented in RRBs retrospectively.
Pension payment which is to be retrospectively introduced as per the scheme from 01.11.1993, there will be need of Payment of Arrears from 01.11.1993 till date for the concerned retirees. This should be done not only for superannuation Pension, but also for Family Pension, Invalid Pension, Voluntary Retirement Pension, Compassionate Retirement Pension etc as per scheme.
The Bank’s contribution received by the retired staff will have to be refunded with interest at the rate of 6%, the amount of which may be adjusted against the amount of arrears as applicable depending on date of retirement, or against the amount of commutation value to be received.
Some existing staff members might have availed withdrawal facility out of Bank’s contribution to PF also, in such case the concerned staff member has to refund the amount so withdrawn.
Henceforth deduction towards PF shall be at the rate of 10% of Basic Pay effective from the said proposed cutoff date to make the scheme at par with the scheme of Sponsor Banks/ NCBs. Banks are also to pay this retrospectively.
There are talks of NPS in RRBs, but we should keep in mind that NPS in Sponsor Banks / NCBs came to picture at the time of 2nd option only for new comers with effect from 01.04.2010 prospectively. This is not at all relevant for RRB Staff as the Supreme Court ordered the GOI to extend the 1993 scheme of banking industry, where there is not NPS. The Supreme Court order dated 25.04.2018 is very clear that GOI has to implement the order of Karnataka High Court dated 22.03.2011 dealing with implementation of Pension Scheme at initial stage.
Our Units have to collect details of particulars of individual retired staff with name / date of joining with post & designation / date of retirement with post & designation (for length of service) / BP at the time of retirement / Other Allowances attracting DA on date of retirement / last 10 month’s average pay drawn / last 10 month’s average other allowances drawn attracting DA / ground of retirement (whether on superannuation or otherwise, please specify) / date of death of staff in case of Family Pension / date of disability, if so happened etc for helping the leadership to calculate the fixation of Basic Pension and other components like Commutation / DA etc.
Our leadership have to prepare model cases of fixation of Pension of individual retirees considering their above particulars and their date of retirement in respective term / period of different BP settlements etc, taking into account the DA slabs changed from time to time.
At the present context, as the Payment of Pension is to be effected retrospectively, the Pension already drawn / to be drawn under the existing EPF Scheme has also to be refunded along with other amounts as indicated above with interest as applicable (6% per annum).
This celebration meeting was addressed by all Core Committee Members urging the house to arrange celebration of this historic achievement at all levels so that entire history of struggles mainly pioneered by the AIRRBEA since inception, may be properly highlighted before the RRB staff in general and our membership in particular, and also to defeat the divisive role of some leaders in some Unions in RRB Sector, who have been trying to confuse the membership.
STRUGGLE IN BANKING INDUSTRY:
On the call of the UFBU for 2 days all India Bank Strike on 30-31 May 2018 against meagre offer of 2 % salary increase in 11th BP discussions, it was decided that considering the struggles in RRB Sector on all pending matters, we have decided for extending solidarity support to the above strike call and to involve actively in all demonstrative and preparatory programmes of UFBU.
PROPOSALS OF INCLUSION OF CC MEMBERS:
Some proposals have come for inclusion of some leaders in CC considering their organizational requirement. The house authorized the Core committee to consider the same on merit and decide the matters.
MANAGEMENT ATROCITIES AT SAURASHTRA GRAMIN BANK:
CC viewed with seriousness on the attacks of the RRB Managements like Sourashtra and Pallavan banks. The house was appraised of some serious situation in some Units and the steps taken so far / to be taken according to needs.
STATUS OF NFRRRBS IN THE AIRRBEA:
Com Ganapathi Hedge, General Secretary, NFRRRBS and some other leaders of the NFRRRBS opined to take a final decision of this matter. The House authorized the Core Committee to discuss the matter so that a final shape can be given in the matter.
STRUGGLES ON THE ISSUE OF DAILY WAGED / CASUAL/ PART-TIME WORKERS:
Now that Pension Parity issue is at the point of realization, our units/ states have to jump upon the matter of these employees for ensuring Minimum Wages Act, 1948 along with other statutory benefits like PF, Bonus, ESI etc for these workers as per NABARD order dated 23.06.2015, pending their regularization / absorption in to the services. We have to recall that DADA Mukherjee had the top priority in his end days on this deprived section of workers and also of the retired comrades.