Reeling from financial losses, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) on Wednesday announced a 50 per cent cut in the salaries of over one lakh employees for the month of May. In a circular issued, the transport undertaking stated that the financial burden on it has increased owing to the lockdown imposed in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, during which movement of buses was completely suspended.
The employees have not yet received their May salary while MSRTC is facing a cumulative loss of Rs 6,000 crore. The circular further elaborated that while salaries will be cut by 50 per cent, steps will be taken to ensure that employees get minimum 25 per cent salary in hand. This has been done as many employees have taken loans for cooperatives, which get deducted from salaries. In certain cases, the application of the 50 per cent cut would have led to employees not getting any money at all after their loan deductions.
This is the first time that the MSRTC, which is dealing with a financial burden, has failed to pay its employees. Unions have opposed the decision to deduct salaries, accusing the management of not foreseeing the crises and not planning for it.
Shrirang Barge, general secretary of Maharashtra ST Karmachari Congress, said, “Those in the lower rung with salary of Rs 20,000 per month will be severely affected. The management should have foreseen the crises and held a consultation with relevant government authorities. Over a lakh employees along with their families depend on the MSRTC for their livelihood.”
Barge alleged that despite incurring a loss of about Rs 22 crore per day, the MSRTC depended entirely on Rs 1,600 crore that the corporation received annually from the government as part of the reimbursement for paying employees their dues.
With its passenger services completely shut since March 23, it was only on May 21 that the MSRTC entered the freight segment and began transporting goods in its trucks with the first delivery of mangoes from Ratnagiri to Mumbai. In the three weeks since, the MSRTC made about Rs 21 lakh by transporting 3,000 tonnes of goods. It transported grains, fertilisers, vegetables along with iron pipes and paints from across 33 divisions in the state. The corporation is hopeful of increasing its earnings through the transportation sector.
Soon after the pandemic struck, the state government had decided to pay salaries of its employees in two tranches for the month of March.
Subsequently, salaries have been paid on time without any cuts.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines