Special Correspondent

Minimum pay hike of Rs.675; no change in increment rates

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Workmen of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) will get a minimum benefit of Rs.675 a month on account of the long-term wage agreement signed between the KSEB authorities and recognised employees' unions here on Wednesday.

The hike consists of Rs.615 in fitment benefit, Rs.50 in additional House Rent Allowance (HRA) and Rs.10 in medical allowance across the board.

Different categories of employees will also get higher allowances depending on their place and nature of work. The wage revision, benefiting around 20,000 workmen, will place an additional burden of Rs.150 crore on the KSEB. The amount will go up further when the officers' pay scales are revised, Power Minister A.K. Balan told a news conference shortly after the wage agreement was signed.

The wage revision had fallen due from August 1, 2003. Mr. Balan said the wage agreement would have retrospective effect from this date and that the arrears for the period up to August 31, 2006, would be impounded in the Provident Fund account of the employees and that from September 1, 2006, paid in cash to the employees.

Employees who joined the service after August 1, 2003, and before February 28, 2007, would get their first increment from the date of their entry in service.

The Board would give one per cent weightage for each year of completed service subject to a maximum of 20 per cent and the minimum weightage compensation being Rs.80.

Part-time sweepers would also get a hike in their wages, from Rs.1,525 to Rs.2,495 plus dearness allowance a month in the case of those who sweep up to 200 square metres and from Rs.1,700 to Rs.2,775 plus dearness allowance for those who sweep between 200 and 800 metres area.

Leave surrender benefits of workmen would go up from 20 to 30 days and now be on par with that of State Government employees.

The wage revision had been effected without any change in the increment rates and the revised pay scales arrived at basically by merging the basic pay in each scale with 59 per cent dearness allowance that was already available to the employees.

The employees would get two per cent DA for the period from January 1, 2004, and another three per cent DA for the period from July 1, 2004.

Mr. Balan said he wished to go in the next wage revision, due in 2008, before the LDF Government demitted office.

The Power Minister said 60 MW additional capacity would be commissioned at Pallivasal shortly and that efforts were on to commission the 25 MW Neriyamangalam project by May.

The Centre, he said, had informed the State Government that further assistance for the KSEB would be conditional upon the State privatising power distribution.

Board chairman T.M. Manoharan was also present at the news conference.