Lots of action on Capitol Hill today of interest to the 447,000 federal workers and retirees in the metropolitan Washington area:

This morning the Senate Civil Service subcommittee will take up a proposal designed to sweeten the controversial merit pay system that covers more than 100,000 federal managers and supervisors.

Office of Personnel Management Director Donald Devine will formally outline a new set of proposed rules that would cover pay raises, promotions and reduction-in-force rules for federal workers.

Ken Blaylock, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, also will testify on the proposed OPM work rules changes.

On the House side, Democrats who run the Post Office-Civil Service Committee will caucus to determine what pay and retirement recommendations they will make to the Budget Committee and the full House.

Earlier this year the Senate approved a 4 percent raise for white-collar workers effective next April. The House position was that the 4 percent increase should be effective this October.

Senate-House conferees finally agreed to a 4 percent pay raise effective in January. And they also voted to defer the next cost-of-living raise for retirees (due in June of next year) until January 1985.

Democrats on the PO-CS Committee will decide whether to push for an October raise or to go along with the conferees and accept the January date. They are expected to agree with the conferees and accept the six-month delay in the next COLA for federal retirees.