New Delhi, May 8: Demanding a hike in minimum pay and fitment factor beyond the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission or 7th CPC, railways employees are on a 72-hour relay hunger strike across the country starting today. According to a statement from the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), employees are agitated as the government hasn’t taken any decision on demand of a hike in minimum pay and fitment factor beyond the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission despite several meeting between union ministers and them.

“Despite requests to the government of India to consider the demands of the Central Government Employees — improvement in minimum wage and fitment factor after implementation of 7th CPC recommendations, provision of guaranteed pension and family pension to all the NPS (National Pension Scheme) covered employees, irrespective of their date of appointment…contractorisation leading towards wholesale privatisation, no fruitful outcome has emerged as yet despite lapse of around two years’ precious time,” the statement said.

Uncertainty continues to hang over the fate of a hike in minimum pay and fitment factor beyond the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission. There have been reports that the government may announce a hike in minimum pay and fitment factor beyond the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. But no official statement has been made in this regard. The government, however, recently said that it was not considering a hike in minimum pay and fitment factor beyond the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission.

“The minimum pay of Rs.18,000/- p.m. and fitment factor of 2.57 are based on the specific recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission in the light of the relevant factors taken into account by it. Therefore, no change therein is at present under consideration,” Minister of State Finance, P Radhakrishnan told Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

The 7th Pay Commission had recommended a 14.27 percent hike in basic pay, raising minimum pay from Rs 7,000 to Rs 18,000 month, which was accepted by the government in June 2016. Since then, central government employees have been asking to raise minimum pay to Rs 26,000 and fitment factor 3.68 times from 2.57 times.