Andhra Pradesh

Merger should not dilute facilities, say RTC unions

Employees who have migrated to the Public Transport Department want implementation of the old pension scheme.

Employees who have migrated to the Public Transport Department want implementation of the old pension scheme.   | Photo Credit: U. SUBRAMANYAM

Employees absorbed into the government’s fold fear that their joy will be shortlived

Leaders of various trade unions in the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), who celebrated the decision of the State government to merge the Corporation into its fold, are now wondering if their joy will be shortlived.

Even as the government passed the Absorption of Employees into Government Services Bill, 2019 in the Assembly on Monday, announcing that employees of APSRTC would be considered government employees from January 1, the employees are keeping their fingers crossed, hoping that the merger does not deprive them of certain key benefits that they enjoyed while they were in the PSU’s fold.

Employees’ pension, for instance, is one of the foremost issues that prompted the demand for a merger, say leaders.

Employees who have migrated to the newly-formed Public Transport Department (PTD) are insisting on implementation of the old pension scheme. “The old pension scheme is a benefit-defined scheme contrary to the new contribution-defined scheme. Forget sustenance, many retired employees can’t even pay their monthly electricity bills with this pension amount. We want implementation of the scheme that was in effect before 2004,” says Y.V. Rao, State general secretary of the APSRTC Employees’ Union.

The fear of dilution of the APSRTC employees’ internal trusts and societies like the Cooperative Credit Society (CCS), Staff Retirement Benefit Scheme (SRBS) and the Staff Benevolent Trust (SBT) is yet another cause of worry for the unions.

The CCS is a robust body with a turnover of ₹1,200 crore and this money is utilised by the employees who avail loans for their children’s education and weddings. Same is the case with other internal funds that come in handy for the workers to address their financial needs.

“Since the public carrier was reeling under massive debt, we thought the merger will give it a fresh lease of life. But reports indicate that everything in the existing system will change,” says R. Subbarao, State joint secretary of the National Mazdoor Union (NMU), another union in the RTC.

“In the corporation, the workers’ medical expenses were completely borne by the management but the government set-up had a ceiling. Merger is what we all wanted, but not at the cost of the dilution of the current facilities,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 12:20:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/merger-should-not-dilute-facilities-say-rtc-unions/article30333837.ece

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