SHILLONG, Dec 21: Staff members of the Meghalaya Transport Corporation (MTC) ceased work on Wednesday after their salaries have been left unpaid for the last five months resulting in a lot of hardships faced especially with the onset of the festive season.
The staff members had earlier requested that 2 month’s of their pending pay is released and the inability of the authorities to meet this demanded had prompted them to take make the decision to cease work.
The strike was staged by the employees under the banner of the Meghalaya Transport Corporation Workers’ Union (MTCWU) in front of the MTC office at Khyndailad here on Wednesday.
The five-month pending salaries which is to the tune of over Rs 3.5 crore is yet to be released by the government causing immense hardships to 250 odd employees, MTCWU general secretary K Rumnong said on the sidelines of this strike.
According to him, over 70 lakh is required monthly for payment of salaries to the employees of the corporation.
“Despite the proposal of the corporation to release the subsidy of Rs 1.80 crore for clearing the pending salaries in installments, the state government has so far released only Rs 90 lakh which is not enough for us to get even two months salaries,” Rumnong said.
He informed that the strike was decided after the corporation’s managing director A Nikhla refused the request for releasing at least 2 months salaries taking into account of December being a Christmas season.
“She (Nikhla) informed that she cannot consider our plea which has come as a huge disappointment to us. Therefore, we will continue with our strike till they are willing to release two-month salaries to all employees,” Rumnong added.
Meanwhile, the employees are also opposing the move of the incumbent managing director to change the payment of Death cum Retirement Gratuity (DCRG) for the staffs of the corporation.
“We are totally opposing this move because we are a semi-government organization and we don’t get pension like those working in the state government offices,” the MTCWU leader said.
According to him, in fact the Meghalaya Transport Corporation is covered under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.
He said that the payment for such benefits was calculated as per the formula laid down by the Act which is as per the length of services of an employee.
“Till now we are getting pay plus dearness allowances but if such changes are brought in, we will be entitled only basic pay without DA, which we cannot accept,” he said.