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Merger Meeting Minutes i/c/w proposal for merger of Sorting Assistant (SA) and PA (CO/RO) with PA (PO)

Subject: Circulation of the Record of Discussion of meetings held on 19.07.2023 & 26.07.2023 in Dak Bhawan, New Delhi in connection with proposal for merger of Sorting Assistant and PA (CO/RO) with PA (PO).

No. Q-26/11/2022-PE-1-DOP Government of India Mimistry of Communications Department of Posts (PI Section) Dak Bhawan, Sansad Marg, New Delhi — 110001 Dated: 23rd August, 2023

Kindly find enclosed a copy of Record of Discussions of the meetings held on 19.07.2023 lwith the representatives of the Federation of National Postal Organisation (FNPO), All India RMS & MMS Employees Union Group "and All India Postal Administrative Offices Employees’ Union Group C & D'] and on 26.07.2023 (with representatives of the Bhartiya Postal Employees Federation). in Dak Bhawan, New Delhi, under the chairpersonship of the Member (Personnel).


(i) Secretary General, Federation of National Postal Orgn. (FNPO), T-24. Atul Grove Road, New Delhi - 110001.

(ii) Secretary General, Bhartiya Postal Employees Federation (BPEF), T-21. Atul Grove Road, New Delhi — 110001.

(iii) General Secretary, All India RMS & MMS Employees Union Group ‘C’. 17/4-C, P & T Colony, Kali Bari Marg, New Delhi — 110001.

(iv) General Secretary, All India Postal Administrative Offices Employces’ Union Group ‘««' & 'D’. 30/3-D, P&T Quarter, Kali Badi Marg, New Delhi — 110001.


Copy to - for information:


(1 DDG (Pers.).

(i)  Sr.PPS/PPS to Member (P).

Record of Discussions of the meet Ings an connection with proposal for merger of Sorting Assistant nnd PA (CORO) with PA (PO), held on 19.07.2023 & 26.07.2023, in Dak Bhawan


In pursuance of the Meeting Notice issued vide Directorate Communications no. Q-25/11/2022-PE-1-DOP dated 14.07.2023 and 21.07.2023, meetings were held on 19.07.2023 with the representatives of the Federation of National Postal Organisation (FNPO), All India RMS & MMS Employees Union Group "C" and All India Postal Addmummstrative Offices Employees’ Union Group 'C" & 'D'l and on 26.07.2023 (with representatives of the Bhartiya Postal Employees Federation), in Dak Bhawan, New Delhi, under the chairpersonship of the Member (Pers.), to obtain their views/comments/suggestions with regard to the proposal of merger of Sorting Assistant and PA (CO/RO) with PA (PO).


2. List of the Officers of the Postal Directorate and representatives of Stall Federntions/Unions/Associations who attended the meeting on 19.07.2023 is placed at Annexure] and the list of the Officers of the Postal Directorate and representatives of BPEF who attended the meeting on 26.07.2023 is placed al Annexure-I1.


3. At the outset the Chairperson welcomed all the representatives of the Staff federations/Unions/Associations and briefed them about the background and purpose of holding the meeting. Thereafter, they were requested to put forth their views/comments/suggestions with regard to the proposal of the aforesaid merger.


1. The representatives of Unions/Associations of Administrative Offices (CO/RO) vehemently opposed the proposed merger and submitted the following reasons for their opposition to the merger of PA (CO/RO) with the PA (PO):


(1) Difference in nature of work: The Unions stated that the nature of work of PA (CO/RO) is totally different from that of PA (PO).


Response of the Directorate: The officials working in the CO/RO should also  have knowledge of postal operations for effective implementation and monitoring of policies. It is a matter of fact that many PA (PO) cadre officials are working in CO/ROs on deputation/attachment basis. Morcover, the officials of PA (PO) cadre posted at Divisional Headquarters deal with similar administrative work which is being done by the PA (CO/RO) officials.


(ii) Loss of Separate Identity: The Unions stated that PA (CO/RO) have a separate and distinct identity which would be lost after the proposed merger.


Response of the Directorate: All employees of the Postal Department belong to a single large postal family, dividing it in the name of cadre 1s disheartening, rather one should be proud of belonging to the postal family. In case this ‘Separate Identity’ concept is given importance, inter Circle transfers under Rule 38 for PA (CO/RO) cadre may require review as Lhat also takes away that ‘Separate Identity’ of transferred officials and place them in a different identity of PA (CO/RO) of a different Circle.


Confidentiality Issue: They stated that there are many issues in CO/RO which are of confidential nature and if the staff from Postal Divisions would work there, the confidentiality shall be compromised.


Response of the Directorate: In the present era of RTI where transparency is paramount and the public have access to every Govt. document, giving too much emphasis to the issue is not justified. The posts which are sensitive in nature have already been identified. Moreover, it amounts to doubting the integrity of the entire cadre of PA (PO). It is also pertinent to mention that in most of the COs/Ros, many officials from Postal Divisions arc working on attachment/deputation basis. Further, it is to mention that officials of PA (PO) cadre working in the HQs of Postal Divisions deal with the similar kind of work which is dealt by the PA (CO/RO) officials without any confidentiality issue. Thus, this very notion of confidentialily/non- transparency may be sel aside.


Preference in Selection of Staff: Senior Officers coming from a particular Division are likely to prefer staff of that Division for posting in the CO/RO which will result in frequent changes/shifting of staff in the CO/RO ultimately hampering the institutional memory and efficiency of the CO/RO.


Response of the Directorate: The proposed merger will allow CO/RO to engage best available manpower available in the Circle for implementation and monitoring of the work related to policy, technology induction/revenue targets. Even the officers of Central Secretariat Service (CSS) are transferred periodically by their Cadre Controlling Authority, ie. DoPT. and there is no such issue of institutional memory and efficiency.


Non-eligibility for P. 8. Group ‘B' Exam: The staff side stated that historically Administrative Office staff have not been allowed to appear for P. S. Group ‘B' LDCE. Response of the Directorate: Each cadre has its own rules/regulations. Thus, they would be governed by extant rules/regulation.




Loss of Seniority: It was informed hy the Unions that they were under impression that after the proposed merger of PA (CORO). officials from Postal Operative Side shall also get promoted to the Supervisory posts of LSG/HSG of CO/RO. They also stated that the officials of PA (CO/RO) would be placed en bloc below the PAs (PO).


Response of the Directorate: It appears that the Staff Side did not read the modalities carefully as there is no such provision to place PA (CO/RO) officials en bloc junior to PAs (PO). Only the existing incumbents of PA (CORO) cadre shall be eligible for both Inter-Circle and Intra-Circle transfer under Rule-38 of Postal Manual-IV to PA (PO) cadre in Postal Division / RMS Division after the proposed merger.


It was also clarified to the Unions that there would be no adverse impact on the promotional avenues of the existing staff of PA (CO/RO), i.c. the officials not opting to switch over to PA (PO), as no LSG/HSG post of CO/RO is being transferred to Postal Side.


(vi) Cadre Review of PA (CO/RO): The Unions demanded for Cadre Review of PA (CO/RO) instead of merger with PA (PO).


Response of the Directorate: The proposal for Cadre Restructuring of PA (CO/RO) was cxamined in consultation with the Department of Expenditure (DoE), Ministry of Finance. The proposal could not materialize due to inadequate functional justification for proposed increase in the higher-level posts.


(vii) Widening the Scope of Rule — 38: The Stall side further demanded to widen the scope of Rule 38 to make PA (CO/RO) etc. eligible for opting for PA (PO) and vice-versa rather than merger.


Response of the Directorate: In respect of PA (CO/RO), in the draft modalities of the merger, it is stated that the existing incumbents of PA (CO/RO) cadre shall be eligible for both Inter-Circle and Intra-Cirele transfer under Rule-38 of Postal Manual-IV to PA (PO) cadre in Postal Division / RMS Division after the proposed merger. Further, the existing incumbents of SA cadre who are allowed to switch over to PA (PO) cadre shall be eligible for both Inter-Circle and Intra-Circle transfer under Rule-38 of Postal Manual-IV only in PA (PO) cadre, whether in Postal Division /Unit or RMS Division / Unit after the merger.


Thereafter, the representatives of Unions/Associations of RMS submitted the following reasons for their opposition to the merger of SA with the PA (PO):


Difference in nature of work: They stated that the work of PA (PO) and SA is totally different and the proposed merger would negatively impact both quality and quantity of work:


Response of the Directorate: It 1s a fact that nature of work of PA and SA is different. however, the proposed merger will provide an opportunity to them to switch over from one wing of the department to the other wing.


Also, it will provide a better hand to the administration to utilize them as per their capabilities.


Loss of seniority: The Unions stated that the officials of SA cadre opting for PA (PO) shall lose their sentority/


Response of Directorate: It is prescribed in the draft modalities that the existing incumbents of SA cadre may make a request in writing to switch over to Postal Assistant (Post Office) [PA (PO) cadre. Thus, it is optional for the SA cadre officials to switch over to PA (PO), if an SA doesn't want to switch over to PA (PO), he is free to do so.


Cadre Review of SA Cadre: The Unions demanded for Cadre Review of SA Cadre instead of merger with PA (PO).


Response of the Directorate: The proposal of Cadre Restructuring of SA cadre was examined in consultation with the Department of Expenditure (DoE). Ministry of Finance. However, the proposal could not materialize due to inadequate functional justification for proposed increase in the higher-level posts.

The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the Chair.

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