Hyderabad: Worried over Telangana’s first Pay Revision Commission (PRC) recommendations, state government employees, teachers and contractual workers are protesting across districts demanding better wage increment and allowances. Meanwhile, for the last three days, a government appointed three-member committee headed by state Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar has been holding negotiations with the representatives of employees unions on PRC recommendations.
According to local news reports, employees and teachers unions have burnt copies of the PRC recommendations in all district headquarters. The main demands of the employees unions include increase of fitment to 45% from the recommended 7.5%. Fitment is a formula for determining the employees’ salaries in the revised pay scales.
Telangana United Medical and Health Employees Union President, Bhupal said that the PRC recommendations are not made scientifically and ridiculed them as being anti-employee. “While the government employees have been demanding for a minimum wage of above Rs 26,000 per month, the PRC has suggested only Rs 19,000 per month. This is highly condemnable. The fitment increase appears to be made unscientifically if one considers the steep price hikes in necessary commodities,” said Bhupal.
The PRC was headed by former bureaucrat CR Biswal with retired IAS officers C Umamaheswara Rao and Dr Mohammed Ali Rafat as its members. The commission has slashed the house rent allowances (HRA) in different slabs. The slabs of 30%, 14.5%, and 12% were slashed to 24%, 17%, 12 and 11% respectively. However, the committee suggested a hike in additional HRA from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500.
The Biswal committee suggested the continuation of sanctioning dearness allowance (DA) twice every year while recommending a conversion factor of 0.910 for sanction of DA from January 2019. That means, for every 1% increase in DA sanctioned by the central government, the DA to be announced by the state government to its employees will be 0.910%.
“The PRC did not consider the long-pending demand of regularisation of contract and outsourced employees. Of the total 4.9 lakh sanctioned state government employees posts, 1.9 lakh posts are vacant now,” said Bhupal. He said that the retirement age was suggested to be increased from 58 years to 60 years even though the chief minister had earlier promised to increase the retirement age to 61 years.
Pingili Sripal Reddy, President of Progressive Recognised Teachers Union Telangana State, has urged the Chief Secretary to consider stopping the contributory pension scheme and implementation of the previous pension system.
“Employees who have been waiting for the PRC are disappointed. The government must reconsider the PRC suggestions,” said Vanga Ravindra Reddy of Telangana Revenue Employees Services Association.
Moreover, Telangana United Teachers Federation has urged the government to increase gratuity to Rs 20 lakh, at par with the Union government employees.
Among the recommendations agreed upon by the employees unions include enhancement in Child Care Leave and extension of the employees’ health scheme to retired employees.
“The PRC recommendations appear to be not made on a scientific basis as they do not reflect the price hikes and standards of the employees, teachers and pensioners. This PRC is worse compared to the 10 PRCs implemented in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. A 7.5% fitment is disappointing. The government must rethink on the PRC and consider the demands of the employees groups,” said Tammineni Veerabhadram, General Secretary of Telangana state CPI(M).
Left parties and Congress are demanding that the government increases the fitment by 45%.
In 2014, the state government had implemented a fitment of 45% based on the recommendations of the PRC formed before the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.