CHENNAI (Metro Rail News): The Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) Employees Union has filed a written petition in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the State Government and the Commissioner of Labour to initiate criminal action under the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 against the Managing Director and other top officials of metro rail for taking vindictive action against its members.
On Monday, Justice S.M. Subramaniam ordered notices to the government, Labour Commissioner as well as the MD and other officials of CMRL on the petition filed by the employees union represented by its president A. Soundararajan, 72, of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU). Alternatively, the petitioner urged the court to grant permission to the union to launch a criminal prosecution.
In an affidavit, the union stated that a total of 254 employees in the cadre of the technician, train operator, station controller, and junior engineer were recruited by CMRL in 2013 and 2014. All these employees were getting 30% of their basic pay towards House Rent Allowance and 35% towards cafeteria allowance which was inclusive of education, transport, washing, and medical allowances.
However, while revising the pay with effect from January 1, 2017, CMRL reduced the HRA from 30 to 24% took away the cafeteria allowance totally. This led to the nonexecutive cadre employees losing Rs.8,960 to Rs. 15,580 a month through the HRA was reduced from 30 to 24% and the cafeteria allowance was reduced from 35 to 20% for those working in the executive cadre.
Further, by a circular dated July 21, 2018, CMRL withdrew benefits such as 15 days paternity leave and 20 days of half pay leave. These measures led to various forms of protest and the formation of the trade union. After CITU began taking up for the cause of the employees, the management first suspended and then eventually dismissed seven office bearers from service.
Even as conciliation proceedings were pending before the Assistant Commissioner of Labour and an appeal having been preferred by the seven office-bearers against their dismissal, the management had suspended nine more workers and issued charge sheets to 15 more workmen in connection with a strike, the union said and sought permission for prosecuting the top brass.