BANGALORE, October 17: The State road transport corporations (RTCs) are at least 10 months behind the government in paying dearness (DA) allowance to their employees.
While the corporations have decided to add 9 per cent DA payable from January this year from the salary of October payable in November, the State government will be paying 15 per cent DA during the same period after effecting a six per cent hike from July.
The corporations have been following the State government practice as far as payment of dearness allowance is concerned by virtue of agreements with trade unions. The delay in paying the enhanced DA is despite the RTCs increasing the fares on June 1 citing, among other reasons, increased financial burden due to enhanced DA.
The corporations — Karnataka SRTC, North-Western KRTC, North-Eastern KRTC and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) — have to pay 5 per cent DA from January this year in addition to the existing four per cent. When the KSRTC Staff and Workers Federation raised the issue of abnormal delay in payment of enhanced DA in September this year, the KSRTC management directed the corporations to pay the nine per cent DA from the salary of October. Responding to this directive, federation general secretary H.V. Ananthasubba Rao wrote to the KSRTC Managing Director stating that the circular was silent on payment of arrears. Besides delayed payment of DA, there has been abnormal delay in settling the gratuity amount of retired and deceased employees, severely affecting their families, he said. Also, RTC employees based in Bangalore are not getting enhanced house rent allowance of 30 per cent, he said.
Mr. Rao told The Hindu that the employees are put to severe hardship due to non-payment of enhanced DA at a time when the cost of living has been increasing constantly. More severe is the delay in payment of gratuity — while the delay is for over two years in NWKRTC, it is for a few months in the other three corporations, he said.
Gratuity amount is the one which a retired employee or dependents of a deceased employee could invest for regular returns and its non-payment affects them severely, he regretted.
Apart from these, the corporations are yet to arrange the Deepavali gift (about Rs. 2,000 per employee) promised by the then Transport Minister R. Ashok, Mr. Rao said.
He said the federation is planning to stage a protest against delayed payments in November in Bangalore.
A senior KSRTC official said that though the circular was silent on the payment of DA arrears, the corporations would not hold back any dues to their employees. Arrears would be paid in the coming days, he said.
Regarding gratuity, the official said that there could be a delay of about two-three months from the date of retirement/ death. Due to the frequent increase in diesel price, cash flow in the RTCs has been affected, impeding payment of dues to employees, the official admitted.
BMTC Managing Director Anjum Parvez said the delay in gratuity payment has been reduced from four months to about two months in his organisation.