Karnataka

MPM workers demand modification of VRS, severance package

The State government had decided to trim the workforce at Mysore Paper Mills through the voluntary retirement scheme.

The State government had decided to trim the workforce at Mysore Paper Mills through the voluntary retirement scheme.  

They plan to take out a 260-km padayatra in the third week of April

The workers of Mysore Paper Mills (MPM), a public sector undertaking in Bhadravati, have rejected the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) and severance package and have decided to push for its modification.

It may be mentioned here that, citing the loss incurred by MPM in the past few years, the State government had decided to hand over the firm to a private party on a long-term lease basis. Prior to the commencement of formalities related to the lease, it was decided to trim the workforce at MPM through VRS. The meeting of the State Cabinet held on December 7, 2016, had decided to release an amount of ₹396.72 crore for VRS and the severance package.

C.S. Shivamurthy, president, MPM Workers’ Association, told The Hindu that against the ₹396.72 crore the State Cabinet had approved, an amount of ₹185.57 crore had been released towards VRS so far. This includes ₹147.29 crore for permanent workers and ₹38.28 crore for workers serving on contract basis. The State government passed an order to this effect on March 6, 2017.

Dearness Allowance

Mr. Shivamurthy said that the reduction in financial allocation for VRS was unacceptable for the workers. The State Cabinet had decided to reserve an amount of ₹59.68 crore for settlement of arrears towards the payment of dearness allowance (DA) to permanent workers that has been pending from seven years now. However, the allocation for DA settlement has been reduced to ₹1.71 crore in the order passed on March 6. The amount towards settlement of gratuity has been reduced from ₹62.08 crore to ₹31.27 crore.

Other settlements

Similarly, there has been a sharp reduction in money reserved for other settlements including lay-off period salary, superannuation benefits and towards payment of bonus, The ceiling of ₹8.50 lakh fixed for payment of ex-gratia compensation was against the interests of the workers, he said.

The decision to reduce the money earmarked for VRS settlement was taken by the government in a unilateral manner. The MPM workers had staged a dharna in Bengaluru against this on March 21 and 22. R.V. Deshapande, Minister for Heavy Industries, who visited the protest site had assured the protesters that the problem would be addressed.

The workers will take out a 260-km padayatra in the third week of April to pressurise the State government to withdraw the order on reduction in financial allocation and modify the VRS package, Mr. Shivamurthy said.

Resuming production

Mr. Shivamurthy said that the workers would also demand the State government explore the possibilities of resumption of production at the firm that has been stopped since November 2015. The cost of pulpwood at the captive plantations of MPM is estimated to be at ₹162 crore. By selling a part of this, the working capital necessary for resumption of production at the firm can be mobilised, he added.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 5:06:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/mpm-workers-demand-modification-of-vrs-severance-package/article17763699.ece

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