28 Apr, 2023 11:43 AM

Government de-recognises NFPE & AIPEU unions

Government de-recognises NFPE & AIPEU unions

The Centre has de-recognised the All India Postal Employees Union (AIPEU) and the National Federation of Postal Employees (NFPE) for making contributions to the farmers’ protests and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), as well as for buying books from the CPI(M) office in Delhi.

The AIPEU, formed in Kolkata in 1920, is one of the oldest unions in India and the NFPE is the largest federation in the sector with eight postal employees unions, including the AIPEU, affiliated to it. The Union Ministry of Communications took the decision based on Central Civil Services (Recognition of Service Association) Rules, 1993, and is considering complaints by the Bharatiya Postal Employees Association (BPEA), which is affiliated to the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) of the RSS.

NFPE’s assistant general secretary P.K. Muraleedharan told The Hindu that the decision would be challenged organisationally. He said that at a referendum held in 2014 the NFPE had got 75% of votes from the employees. “Our organisation has support from employees of every ideological stream. This organisation has a history of agitating against the British rule. Now, this attempt to cancel recognition is to end all trade union activities in the sector,” he said adding that in 2014, the BMS-supported union received support of less than 5% employees. “Now a referendum is due in 2024. We have the support of about three lakh of the 4.5 lakh employees in the postal department,” he said. Recently, the NFPE had organised a one-day strike against privatisation of postal services and demanding restoration of old-pension scheme.

The order of de-recognition, signed by Nahar Singh Meena, Assistant Director-General of Department of Posts, said allegations of “funding a political party” were levelled against the NFPE and AIPEA for supporting the farmer’s agitation. “Funding the farmers movement through Confederation of Central Govt. Employees was categorically admitted vide letter dated 24.08.2022 of NFPE,” the order said.

It added that various amounts were paid to CPI(M), CITU and farmers’ solidarity funds through online transfer and cheque payments from AIPEU account. The amount in question is ₹30,000 to help farmers’ movement, ₹4,935 to CPI(M) and ₹50,000 to CITU. “The act of political donations was in contravention of Rule 5(b), Rule 5(h) and Rule 6(c) of CCS(RSA) Rules, 1993,” the order said.

The NFPE said in its reply that donation was made to the Confederation of Central Government Employees & Workers to provide help to the farmers’ movement and NFPE contributes to the fund each year. On donation to CPI(M), the reply was that it was the cost of some books purchased from the CPI(M) headquarters, which has a book shop. However, the order said: “The association has not provided any evidence in this regard... how a personal transaction can be made from the account of association.”

Welcoming the decision, the BPEA said in a letter to the Director-General, Postal Services, that each and every facility offered to both NFPE and AIPEU should be withdrawn immediately. The administration should ensure that “these two Unions/Associations do not take part in the procedure of membership verification” which is under way, the BPEA said. The administration should also ensure that no formal subscription is collected on behalf of these bodies officially and “that no formal/informal meeting is offered/entertained” with or on behalf of these bodies, BPEA leader Ananta Kumar Pal added in the letter and asked the authorities to stop all activities of both the NFPE and AIPEU.

We have already intimated on several occasions that these two bodies and a other few unions “under their black shade” are enjoying several advantages or privileges over the years. But undue advantages to these blacklisted bodies must be stopped now and postal members should be allowed to breathe the fresh air of freedom, the BPEA letter said.

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