Pune metro workers on strike for pay asked to resign

All they have been offered is a month’s payout of the five that are due; employer Al Fara’a insists entire amount will be cleared subsequently

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100 MahaMetro employees protest unpaid salary of five months, strike work
100 MahaMetro employees protest unpaid salary of five months, strike work

PUNE (Metro Rail News): The Joint venture of Hindustan Construction Company Ltd (HCC) and Al Fara’a Infraproject working on the Pune Metro rail project, has shown the door to the 100 employees protesting the non-payment of salaries in the past five months.

On April 18, 2019 the JV’s project manager asked the beleaguered workers to ac The marching orders were issued by Project Manager Anil Birajdar After He had called the employees for a meeting at the Metro office (functioning out of a container) in Vallabh Nagar.

While the employees were told not ask too many questions and just accept what was being offered, they were told that the predicament was the outcome of the contracted companies not getting their funds from Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MahaMetro).

The move is in sharp contrast to the resolution within a month, the spokespersons of both the companies talked of on Wednesday, when Pune Mirror took up the issue for the story “100 MahaMetro employees protest unpaid salary of five months, strike work” (published on April 19, 2019).

It is also in stark variance to the series of assurances given by the companies over the past months to the workers who cover wide-ranging job profiles. Understandably, the cornered workers are petrified.

On one hand, they do not want to lose out on their dues, on the other, they are insecure that once out of this job, they may lose favor with the construction industry for which their services are tailored. Yet S Marne, one of the affected employees of HCC-Al Fara’a explained, “Most of our expertise is related to Metro work in the construction industry. If they terminate us, it is unlikely we will find employment with any other enterprise in the field. Notwithstanding this, we’ve decided to stay firm on our decision to fight for our rights and retrieve all our dues immediately.”

Scoffing at what is being offered another brave-heart from the group, Abhijeet B asked, “What will a month’s salary do for us? We’ve worked hard at our job and earned the money due to us. They’re just compelling us to resign, though we are willing to come to a settlement and continue working on the Pune metro project.

“The employee salaries for one month have been paid with immediate effect. The issue of the remaining outstanding will be resolved within a fortnight. We are committed to paying all our employees and any rumors contrary to this position are strongly refuted. We have received requests from some workers, who wish to quit. The full and final settlement of these employees will be done as per the company policies.” Said Al Fara’a spokesperson in an e-mailed response to queries.

Time being, clearly unwilling to be drawn into the internal issues of its contractors, MahaMetro officials have washed their hands off the fate of the 100 employees who worked on the Pune Metro project for a year now.

“Our role has ended having requested Al Fara’a to release the dues to the employees. That’s as much as we could do. The ultimate decision rests with HCCAl Fara’a which are responsible for the hiring and firing of these employees,” Said Hemant Sonawane, GM (corporate communications), MahaMetro.

Our prime concern is the progress of the project, he added. “If there is any kind of disruption or delay in our work and they fail to show the progress we will have to terminate the contract with them and replace them with some other company. We’ve already issued such notices to them earlier over delays and will be doing so again, shortly. We have to fulfill our commitment to having the trial run rolling by end-December.” He reiterated that MahaMetro has been paying the contracted JV in advance and has no pending dues owed to them.

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