AFTER 2,200 daily wage workers were asked to sit home with salary cuts of up to 80 per cent by the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML), the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) have stepped forward to provide financial aid to the transport undertaking so that it can pay the salaries of April and May to these workers.
The PCMC has also said it will provide work to those daily wage earners who stay in its jurisdiction.
As reported by The Indian Express earlier, over the past fortnight, the PMPML had asked these workers to sit at home as the undertaking had no work for them amid the nationwide lockdown.
Pune Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said the PMC will try and ensure that workers were treated in a fair manner. “It is true that during the lockdown period, salaries of workers should not be cut as per central government directives. Workers did not sit at home of their own will. They did not get work. Therefore, we have decided to pay at least Rs 2 crore to PMPML so that it can pay salaries to these workers,” he said.
Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar said, “I have discussed the issue with the PMPML administration and the PCMC will provide whatever amount is required for paying salaries of daily wage workers. Workers are not at fault as the lockdown forced them to stay at home. We need to take care of them. The PCMC is ready for that.”
Hardikar also said he has asked PMPML to provide names and details of the daily wage earners who live in PCMC limits. “If PMPML can provide us with the list, we will provide work to them. We will accommodate them, the PMPML need not worry,” he said.
Naina Gunde, PMPML’s chief managing director, said, “For more than 2,200 daily wage earners, we need at least Rs 2.7 crore for paying their salaries for the month of May. For April, we paid 419 workers to whom we could offer work. However, though a lockdown was enforced from March 23, we paid them the full salary for the month. No one is taking that into account.”
Gunde said PMPML was “unnecessarily being targeted”. “We are being blamed for ignoring the workers. But we don’t have the revenue to pay them. We were running 1,650 buses. But for two months, only 100 buses were on the roads. Our revenue has come down to Rs 1 lakh from Rs 1.5 crore daily. After paying our permanent workers, we paid whatever was left to daily wage earners,” she added.
Seema Savale, PCMC corporator, said, “When the Prime Minister of the country has said government undertakings should not cut salaries, how can PMPML, PMC and PCMC allow this to happen? They should not have allowed this in the first place.”
Gunde said the agreement that the PMPML signed with daily wage workers clearly stated that they will get paid only if they get work on a particular day. “We have strictly gone by the book,” she said.
The PMPML chief said she had spoken to the PCMC chief during a meeting. “We will provide the list of daily wage workers living in PCMC areas. It will help them as well as PMPML if they get some work,” she added.
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