Government Decision To Deny Employees Transport Allowance During Work From Home Unjustified

Already the Central Government Employees and the Pensioners are a dissatisfied lot. The Dearness Allowance which is given to them to compensate the price rise of the essential commodities once in six months has been frozen by the BJP Government for 18 Months.  They are struggling to meet both the ends meet because already 10% of their Salary is recovered for the contribution to New Pension Scheme; balance is recovered for EMI s towards various loans taken. The 7th Pay Commission was the worst Pay Commission which the Government employees has ever seen. After a period of 10 years it has just given a 14% increase in their Basic Pay. Many Allowances and interest free loans and advances including Festival Advance were withdrawn. None of their economic demands are settled. Government is completely ignoring them.

Even meetings of the Joint Consultative Machinery to discuss all these issues are not taking place. Government is bent upon to Corporatize the 41 Ordnance Factories and Railway Production Units. Defence Production is privatized and Railway routes are handed over to Private Sectors. A large section of the Central Government Employees especially in Railways and Defence are forced to work Night Shift. Recently, the Government issued an Order withdrawing Night Duty Allowance to the employees who are getting the Basic Pay beyond Rs. 43,600/-. One fail to understand that how Night Duty Allowance can be denied to an employee when he is asked work from 10.00 pm to 06.00 am against the nature’s law. The High Court has clearly ruled in the past that no employee can be denied Night Duty Allowance once he is deployed in Night Shifts.

The Government does not bother for judgments which are given by even Supreme Court and High Courts. The Supreme Court ruling to implement the MACP Up-gradation Scheme from 01.01.2006, to grand notional increment who retire on the last working day  of the Month of June / December after rendering 1 full year service after the previous increment, the Madras High Court Judgment in the case of Defence Industrial Employees to ignore their placement in the Highly Skilled Grade-I from the period from 01.01.2006 to 14.06.2010 for the purpose of MACP etc. are totally neglected by the Government resulting in multiplicity of litigations on service matters.

Even after a period of almost 6 years after the implementation of 7th CPC Pay Scale the employees of Ordnance Factories are paid their Piece Work rates and Incentive in 6th CPC rates. The minimum Basic Pay of a Central Government Employee is now Rs. 18,000/- from 01.01.2016. However, 30 days Bonus is paid @ Rs. 7,000/-.
Inspite of all the above injustice and apathy towards the Government Employees it is they who worked Day and Night during the COVID-19 pandemic and are in the fore front fighting against the spread of the Virus.  Many employees while performing their duty has become the victim of the Virus and collapsed. Government has not given any compensation to their family. Even the COVID affected employees are to take their own leave. The demand of the Trade Unions to grant them Quarantine Leave has gone to deaf ears. Even Special Casual Leave is not yet granted to employees who were not able to reach office during COVID-19 Lockdown due to non availability of Public Transports including Suburban Trains. The demand for withdrawing the most hopeless New Pension Scheme is also not considered by the present Government.

Now the latest bomb shell is the Order issued by the Finance Ministry on 01.12.2020. This Order says that the Government employees who are asked by the Competent Authority to work from home during the COVID-19 lockdown period are not eligible for Transport Allowance; even the pregnant and physically challenged employees are also not spared. The All India Defence Employees’ Federation (AIDEF) is the first organization to protest against the illegal and unjustified decision of the Government. The AIDEF in its Letter dated 03.12.2020 has vehemently opposed the arbitrary decision of the Government. According to AIDEF the Government Order on Transport Allowance says that “TA cannot be paid only when the employees remain on leave for a whole month or deputed to outstation for training etc.” In the instant case the Government only asked them to work from home and several times they were called to the Office / Unit to perform emergency and essential work. However, due to the pandemic the biometric attendance system was suspended and hence no separate attendance was maintained by the Unit as they were all on deemed duty since they were working from home and from their Unit. The AIDEF has pointed out all these facts in its Letter addressed the Secretary / Expenditure and has demanded that the Government should withdraw this Order.

Shiva Gopal Mishra / Secretary / Staff Side of the National Council (JCM) for Central Government Employees has also shot a protest Letter to the Finance Secretary on 04.12.2020 in which he has opposed the move of the Government to recover the correctly paid Transport Allowance. In his Letter dated 04.12.2020 he has reminded the Government that 6th Pay Commission has subsumed both City Compensatory Allowance (CCA) and Transport Allowance into one single Allowance and hence the Transport Allowance is not only to cover the expenditure incurred on commuting from residence to workplace but it also contains major element of erstwhile CCA. Moreover, Transport Allowance is also increased based on DA rise. Now DA is also frozen and Transport Allowance is also being withdrawn from the employees for no false of theirs. Government only asked to them to work from home.

The Government should be sensitive towards their own employees. Attacking them from all corners will demoralize and de-motivate them which will ultimately have far reaching implications on the performance of the Government itself. Government should withdraw such anti labour decisions and should come forward to settle the genuine and justified demands of the Central Government Employees, C. Srikumar, General Secretary of All India Defence Employees’ Federation told

The views expressed here are those of C.Srikumar, General Secretary of All India Defence Employees’ Federation and also a Standing Committee Member of the National Council (JCM)

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