The leave management kiosks, launched by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) about four months ago, do not seem to have made much difference in addressing employees’ complaints.
The kiosks, with touch screen and voice assistance technology in Kannada and English, had been set up in all 41 depots following allegations of unfair practices against depot managers. A smart card had been issued to all employees enabling them to apply for leave without going through managers.
At the launch, BMTC officials had said that 10 per cent of the employees across all categories could apply for leave in a day. If the limit is exceeded, leave could not be generated. BMTC has approximately 35,000 employees, including office staff.
However, employees claim that this system is not working smoothly. They admit that the kiosks had resolved the issue of alleged bribery in sanctioning leave, but feel that the kiosks have not led to any significant improvement in terms of their leave status. They allege that less than 10 per cent leave is being granted and this is insufficient considering the number of employees at each depot.
V Manjunath, secretary, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), alleged that there are irregularities in the kiosks resulting in shortage of leave.
A driver, wishing to remain anonymous, said that it is extremely difficult to get leave for emergencies at short notice since most employees would have applied for leave in advance. “Since leave is granted on ‘first come, first serve’ basis, employees have to get special permission in an emergency,” he said.
His colleagues claimed that there have been instances where sanctioned leave has been withdrawn and employees asked to report back to duty. “When it comes to leave applications at short notice, senior employees are usually given preference,” they alleged.
However, BMTC Managing Director Anjum Parvez denied that employees are facing any problem and said that they are satisfied with the kiosks. He said that on a daily basis, eight per cent of leave is granted and two per cent is set aside for emergencies. “If there is any genuine reason, we have always attended to the needs of employees,” he said.