IREF Struggles Against NPS
IREF (Indian Railway Employees Federation) took the timely initiative in forming an all India “Front Against New Pension Scheme in Railways” (FANPSR) through a convention at RCF/Kapurthala and gradually, the national front became a popular platform for restoration of OPS (Old Pension Scheme) among the young rail workers who joined Railways in the year 2004 and thereafter. IREF led FANPSR along with NMOPS (National Movement for OPS) - primarily an organisation of state government employees, in general, and teachers, in particular, soon became a formidable force of the movement. Demanding immediate scrapping of the New Pension Scheme (NPS) set up under PFRDA Act, 2013, FANPSR along with NMOPS held a massive rally at Ram Leela Maidan, Delhi on 30 April 2018 followed by another mass meeting on 26 November 2018 at the same venue. Thereafter, four days Dharna (sit-in) was held at Jantar Mantar, Delhi from 28 January to 1 February 2019. Shaken up by the scale and strength of the demonstration across the country, the Modi government announced an increase in the share of government's contribution from 10% to 14%.
NPS - Nijikaran Bharat Chodo Yatra (NPS - Privatisation Quit India March) has been jointly initiated by FANPSR, NMOPS and IREF on 1 June 2023 from Champaran, Bihar in Sonpur Division of East Central Railway. The march then covered states like Bihar, UP, Uttarakhand, Jabalpur in MP to Nasik in Maharashtra and ended with great enthusiasm. In solidarity with the yatra, the unions at RCF/Kapurthala and Patiala organised huge demonstrations at the factory gate.
The Ghanti Bajao (Ring Bells) programme initiated on 1 August 2023 concluded on 31 August 2023 in which IREF/FANPSR members rang the door bells of local MPs. 23 MPs have already responded and the remaining MPs would be appealed to raise the issue of NPS in the floors of the parliament. On 1 October 2023, a massive workers' rally is scheduled at Ramlila ground against privatisation of Railways, for scrapping of NPS and restoration of OPS. Preparations are going in full swing to mobilise rail-workers for the programme. 15 zonal unions led by IREF are expected to mobilise workers in huge numbers.