VRS more beneficial to AFT staff: Minister

M.O.H.F. Shajahan

M.O.H.F. Shajahan   | Photo Credit: M_SAMRAJ

Shahjahan says government offered the scheme on humanitarian grounds

The government decided to offer voluntary retirement scheme in Anglo French Textiles in spite of the financial crunch on humanitarian considerations as such a measure will enable workers draw more money than terminal benefits that would be available if the unit was closed, Minister for Revenue M.O.H.F Shahjahan said here on Friday.

Mr. Shahjahan, who holds the Industries portfolio, told The Hindu that an elected government could not throw out 675 workers all of a sudden and put the lives of their families at risk.

Besides the workers, there were around 50 people working in managerial positions, he said.

Explaining the advantage of the VRS, he said the workers would be eligible for 35 days salary for every completed year of service. They would be eligible for 25 days salary a year for every year o service left. Under the closure scheme, the employees would only be getting 15 days wages for every completed year of service, the Minister said.

“It is inhuman to throw out people who have been working in a historic mill on someone’s whim. We know it will be difficult to run the entire units profitably. Complete closure is not an option before the government,” he asserted.

2,139 workers benefited

Terming opposition to the VRS as a “joke”, he said successive governments had introduced VRS in the AFT and 2,139 employees had opted for it between 1999 and 2017. Between 2014 and 2017, 551 employees had opted for VRS. The government had so far incurred an expenditure of ₹83 crore, he added.

The government’s plan was to provide VRS option to employees and to operate the C unit of the mill with the remaining staff after modernisation.

Although the C unit was not operational now, it could be made functional as machinery were not in a bad condition unlike in the other two units, he added.

Rubbishing claims made by certain quarters that the closure order was based on Vijayan Committee report, Mr. Shahjahan said the committee was not appointed to close down the mill but to revive it. The committee had given several recommendations, he said.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 6:49:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/vrs-more-beneficial-to-aft-staff-minister/article30647487.ece

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