Around 140 retired employees of Coirfed, the apex body of coir cooperative societies in the State, are waiting eagerly for the mass contact programme of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy slated to be held here on December 22. The reason, according to them, is the confusion over the ambitious pay revision scheme that was brought about by the previous government in July 2010.

The revision, which promised a 15 per cent increase of the total salary apart from other benefits, also promised retrospective effect from January 2004. However, the employees and the retired employees, who made brisk calculations expecting quite a bonanza, were in for a shock just after a few months of the revision announcement.

A government order, dated March 1, 2011, made it clear that though the pay revision would be with effect from January 1, 2004, the monetary benefits would be with effect from January 1, 2011 only. The period from January 2004 to December 2010 was to be notional. But the confusion did not end there. Retirement benefits including pension, gratuity and others, they allege, were changed in accordance with the pay revision. But while some of them were paid these benefits in full, many were denied the benefits and were still not getting their pensions.

The provident fund pension that they were being paid has been stopped, they allege. When they submitted complaints to be taken up during Mr. Chandy's mass contact programme, they say, they were summoned for a discussion at the Coirfed, during which they were asked for three months' time and assured rectification of the anomalies. At the same time, a communiqué from the Coirfed authorities to a complaint lodged with the District Collector has put the blame for the confusion on the government. The communiqué says that the Coirfed wrote to the Coir Development director asking for instructions on what was to be done about the arrears from January 1, 2004 to June 30, 2010, which was when the revisions were announced. The complaints remained unaddressed because a response from the government on this issue was still awaited, the communiqué said.

Keywords: Coirfed

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