Postal workers in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, went on a strike from August 16 demanding wage parity with postal workers in the head office and divisional offices.
S Moorthy, president of the Vellore division of All India Gramin Dak Sevak Union, said, “We have been fighting for our rights for several decades. We do the same work as that of a postman in a head post office or sub-office in rural areas. But we are paid less and do not get pension after retirement as we are not permanent employees.” They have been demanding the implementation of the Kamalesh Chandra Committee report that recommended parity with regularised postal workers.
Most of the workers get paid between Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 8,000. “We are not covered under any medical scheme,” he added. He pointed out that the rural employees constituted 80% of the postal staff strength.
As no action was taken on their repeated pleas, the workers have launched the indefinite strike from Wednesday, he said.
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Some may ask “Why strike work? Is it not a irresponsible act by workers?”
Let us look at what the law says (from legalserviceindia.com)
“Today, in each country of globe whether it is democratic, capitalist, socialist, give right to strike to the workers. But this right must be the weapon of last resort because if this right is misused, it will create a problem in the production and financial profit of the industry.”
“The trade union Act, 1926 for the first time provided limited right to strike by legalizing certain activities of a registered trade union in furtherance of a trade dispute which otherwise breach of common economic law. Now days a right to strike is recognized only to limited extent permissible under the limits laid down by the law itself, as a legitimate weapon of Trade Unions.”
Provision of valid strike under the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947-
Section 2(q) of said Act defines the term strike, it says, “strike” means a cessation of work by a body of persons employed in any industry acting in combination, or a concerted refusal, or a refusal, under a common understanding of any number of persons who are or have been so employed to continue to work or accept employment. Whenever employees want to go on strike they have to follow the procedure provided by the Act otherwise there strike deemed to be an illegal strike.
Section 22(1) of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 put certain prohibitions on the right to strike. It provides that no person employed in public utility service shall go on strike in breach of contract:
(a) Without giving to employer notice of strike with in six weeks before striking; or
(b) Within fourteen days of giving such notice; or
(c) Before the expiry of the date of strike specified in any such notice as aforesaid; or
(d) During the pendency of any conciliation proceedings before a conciliation officer and seven days after the conclusion of such proceedings.