Sunday, February 8, 2015



             THE CONVENTION ON CHALLENGES AHEAD OF LOCOMEN AND RAILWAYMEN
ORGANISED BY AILRSA AT CHENNAI ON 06.02.2015

PAPER PRESENTED ON RAILWAY REFERENCE ON RUNNING ALLOWANCE
           By  K.PARTHASARATHI, AGS, AILRSA, SR


The Railway Board vide its reference dated 20.10.2014 had referred  briefs on three allowances viz., Pay Element and rates of Running Allowance, Additional Allowance and BreakDown Allowance to the 7th CPC for their consideration and recommendation.

BACKGROUND
Let us remind some facts and background of this issue prior to 1980 there was no transparency in fixing the rate of running allowance. The rate has been fixed by the Railway Board according to their whims and fancies without any basis or formula. In this regard this Association demanded to have a transparency and basic ingredients should be spelt out. The Railway Board responded and constituted the Running Allowances Committee (RAC) 1980. The RAC 1980 after the detailed deliberations with the staff side as well as the management and after extensive study on this subject formulated a formula to arrive at the rate of running allowance. This formula has held the field till date for the past 34 years for calculating the rate of running allowance. The staff side also asserted the formula and never raised any dispute on it. What ever dispute raised by the staff side is not against the fabric of the formula but against the changes made in the quantum of various factors such as the pay, number of days of TA and National Average Kilometre for arriving at the rate. Naturally many questions will rise in the minds of Loco Running Staff.
Whether Railway Board referred Running Allowance to 7th CPC is usual one or any significance attached to it?
It is first time in the history Railway referred Running Allowance to 7th CPC. On all the previous Pay Commissions it maintained a stand that Running Allowance was an administrative matter.
What was the stand by taken Trade Unions on this issue?
AIRF and NFIR have on the opinion that it is matter between staff side and management    never represented about Running Allowance to Pay Commissions. But AILRSA had represented to 4th, 5th and 6th CPCs. Now AILRSA has submitted exclusive representation to 7th CPC.
Why AILRSA  submitted exclusive representation on this issue before 7th CPC?
AILRSA has submitted exclusive representation to 7th CPC on two reasons. Basically Running Allowance is not merely an allowance but has a percentage of pay attached to it.
Can AILRSA feel its demand is achieved due to change in the stand of Railway Board by referring  this issue before 7th CPC?
No we should analyse the intention of Railways to change their stand.
What is the intension behind Railways to refer it to VII CPC?
The intention behind the pleadings advanced by the Railway Board is to ensure that no higher pay scales than a normal replacement scales should be recommended to Running Staff by the 7th Pay Commission, pleading twisted facts far from truth.
How can we say Railways not presenting the facts and it is far from the truth?
Railways say Running Allowance scheme is followed in Railways to maintain “depression concept”. But there is no depressed pay scale concept. The Running Allowance is not to make good for the loss due to depressed pay scale as pleaded by Railways.
Why Running Allowance is continued in Railways?  Is there any record to prove the same ?
I CPC to VI CPC never said they recommended a pay scale to LRS lower than what they are eligible but for the Running Allowance scheme. From reading para 51 of Running Staff Pay And Allowances Committee (RSPAC) 1948, para 28 of 2nd Central Pay Commission Ashraff Committee(1968), para 187 of 3rd  Central Pay Commission,  the terms of reference of Running Allowance Committee 1980, and Para 10.456 of 4th  Central Pay Commission all reveals it is only to motivate the running staff and to improve the performance and efficiency. Para 83-159 of 5th  Central Pay Commission also says,
“we tend to agree with the opinion expressed by the Ministry and feel that the basic objective of motivating running staff to do maximum running duties is fulfilled by the existing system of payment of running allowance”.
Hence depression concept is a newly coined concept by Railways after 2002 only to abrogate the benefits extended by various CPCs to of Loco Running Staff.
How can you say Railway Board is misleading the 7th CPC?
The statement of Railway Board that the RAC 1980 was the first to assess the quantum of this pay element is not the factual position. From 1919 onwards the quantum of pay element is assessed as 75%, RAC 1980 has reduced it arbitrarily to 30% and the pay element for retirement benefit was fixed at 60% in the year 1980. However 75% of pay element was fixed for retirement benefits till 05.12.1988, by the Supreme Court.
       The further chart incorporated in para no. 7 in the representation of Railway as if it has been drawn in the report of RAC 1980 is also false. The RAC 1980 never made such an exercise, as clear from their deliberation in para 710 of its report. This chart and the statement are totally not based on RAC 1980 report and a cooked up one to mislead the 7th  CPC. The contention that erosion of depression of pay scales, widening of gap between earnings of running staff vis-a-vis non- running staff after successive pay commissions itself is totally wrong statement and is an invention of the management intended to prevent the 7th  CPC to allow the Running staff of their legitimate pay scales and emoluments.
What does the widening of gap between earnings of running staff vis-a-vis non- running staff mean?
Railway Board compared the average annual wage of Group C staff and the Running Staff. In this regard, it is observed that unless the duties, responsibilities, working conditions and promotion avenues are comparable, pay scale cannot be compared with the other staff. Running Staff duties involves tour of duties in the whole year, night duties, over time working, breach of rest working etc which entitle allowances such as KMA, Night Duty Allowance, Overtime Allowance, Breach of Rest Allowance etc. The average wage of running staff includes these elements but other Group C Staff do not have such a working and not entitled such allowances. The average wage of non running staff does not include such allowances. Further, Railway Board pointed out ratio between Running Staff and Group C staff upto 2004, the following table after the implementation of IV CPC upto 2004 (DA merged as DP) gives the factual position.
Year
Maximum Basic Pay of
Running Staff + DA
Rs.(6000-9800)
Max.  Basic Pay of
Group ‘C’ Staff + DA
    Rs.(7450-11500)
Ratio
1998
(DA 10%)
9800 + 1274= 11074
11500 + 1150= 12650
1:1.1
2000
(DA 20%)
9800 + 2548= 12348
11500 + 2300= 13800
1:1.1
2002
(DA 40%)
9800 + 5096= 14896
11500 + 4600= 16100
1:1.1
2004
(DP 50%)
(DA 11%)
9800 + 6370 + 2012= 18182
11500 + 5750 + 1898= 19148
1:1.1


Is there any other twisting of  facts by the Railways intended to mislead the 7th CPC?
The Railway Board tried to project that the 3rd CPC could have allowed a pay scale of Rs.840-1040 for Mail Driver instead of Rs.550-750, but for the existence of running allowance.
   This is a claim without any ground. A reading of 3rd CPC never gives such an impression that the commission recommended a pay lesser than what is eligible for a Mail Driver on account of existence of the running allowance. The 4th, 5th and 6th CPCs were also on the same position. A replacement scale to the existing one has been allotted for all including the running staff. Further due to cadre restructuring exercise many non running staff gained the advantage in their pay packet. Though the minimum and maximum of scales are maintained, the percentage of posts in and maximum scale were increased after 3rd CPC. This aspect was not taken by the Railway Board and conveniently suppressed the fact while presenting average annual wage between running and non running staff. The whole argument are bereft of any evidence so the concept of measure of depression, erosion of depression etc. advanced by Railway Board is totally unfounded, too vague and ambiguous and intended to misguide the Pay Commission.
Is there any other tailored facts by the Railways to suit to their ill motive?
Railways says due to special fitment table after 6th Pay Commission the running staff have distinct advantage over others. Reckoning of DA that was drawn by the workers for fixation of pay for the new pay scale is a natural course authorised by the successive Pay Commissions.
For an easy understanding the following position be seen:-,
A Non-Running Staff who get Rs.100 and a Running staff who get Rs.70 as Pay and Rs.30 in Running Allowance shall be compared:
Non-Running Staff                      Rs.100 multiplied by 1.86          get Rs. 186 as pay
Running Staff                             Rs.70  multiplied by 2.118         get Rs. 148 as pay
Further while calculating DA after CPC (for ex. 107% DA )
Non-Running Staff  pay   Rs. 186                                                 will get Rs.199 as DA
Running Staff pay                       Rs. 148 + 30%                                     will get Rs.205 as DA
Calculate the emolument Non-Running Staff                             Rs.186+Rs.199= Rs.385
Calculate the emolument Running Staff                                     Rs.148+Rs.205= Rs.353

Thus the Running Staff  do not have distinct advantage over others on fitment formulae.
It is also to be noted that prior to 5th CPC there was some ceiling of basic pay for DA. 5th CPC removed such ceiling thereby all are getting equal DA which is called 100% neutralization. Now a question raise in our mind that when 100% neutralization caused advantage to Group A& Group B official whether their pay was reduced ??
What is the formula recommended by the RAC 1980 to decide the percentage of pay element?
No, RAC 1980 gave methodology to arrive the rate of Running Allowanceonly. It is

(30% pay element of mean pay of Loco Pilot (passenger) + 20 days of TA) * 100
      ______________________________________________________________________________________      
National Average Kilometre of Loco Pilot(Passenger )

RAC 1980 never recommended formula to derive percentage of pay element. They have not arrived 30% based on any sound and definite formula. They never recommend such formula also. The concluding para 715 of the RAC 1980 reveals that “ the percentages arrived at by the various methods outlined above, the committee is of the view that it would be on the whole fair and equitable to take the pay element in Running Allowanceas 30% of the basic pay of the running staff.” Thus it is clear RAC 1980 recommended formula to derive the rate of Running Allowanceonly.
Whether there is any review of formula is demanded by any trade union?
This formula has held the field for the past 34 years for calculating the rate of running allowance. The staff side all the unions also asserted the formula and never raised any dispute on it. What ever dispute raised by the staff side is not against the fabric of the formula but against the changes made in the quantum of various factors such as the pay, number of days of TA and National Average Kilometre for arriving at the rate.
What is the dispute on National Average Kilometre?
The Running Allowance committee 1980 fixed the average kilometre earned by Passenger Driver per month at 3950 km after due deliberation. Railways told to 7th CPC is that the RAC 1980 fixed it at 5100 km is totally wrong and misguiding. The Railway Board arbitrarily changed this to 5100 km at their whims and fancies in 1987. Even the report of RAC 2002 finds it that the average earning of kilometre in a month for a Passenger Driver is 4700Km. Therefore taking a figure of 5100 km arbitrarily instead of the average find out by the RAC 1980 and RAC 2002 is totally wrong and we are deprived for the past two decades. Therefore we demand to fix the average kilometre as component to the formula to arrive at the rate at 4700km.
Why it is necessary to submit representation to 7th CPC by trade unions?
When a dispute ie, Running Allowance was referred to National Industrial Tribunal by the Government, simultaneously Chairman, Railway Board ordered to constitute a committee (Empowered Committee) to finalize a mechanism for new formula for running allowance. Since it was raised in NIT, Railways decided that the empowered committee may be kept in abeyance. Now while referring the same to 7th CPC, Railway states that after the report of 7th CPC is received, the need for having a Committee may be considered. Our apprehension is that the committee constituted or to be constituted are intended to abrogate the benefits that may extended by the CPC, this is serious concerns of us.

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