Monday, March 27, 2017

Time is up: Govt asks HMT Watches to raise funds for salaries

TIME is almost up for HMT Watches as the once timekeeper of the nation has been asked by Centre to arrange funds on its own to clear pending salary dues of its employees.  
As many as eight central public sector enterprises under the Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) are under closure.  These include HMT Bearings, HMT Watches, HMT Chinar Watches, Tungabhadra Steel Products, Hindustan Cables, Hindustan Photo Films Mfg Co, HMT (Tractor Division) and Instrumentation Ltd's Kota unit. Giving details about three such entities -- HMT Bearings, HMT Watches and HMT Chinar Watches, Union Minister Anant Geete told Parliament recently...
that the employees of these undertakings have been relieved through VRS/VSS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme/Voluntary Separation Scheme).
HMT Watches has sought funds from DHI for payment of salary for the period from January 2016 to March 2017 of Rs 19 crore for 815 employees relieved between January to June 2016 comprising Rs 10.70 crore and Rs 8.30 crore for 146 employees of watch factory Ranibagh who did not opt for VRS, he said.  
He said 146 employees of the HMT Watches' Ranibagh unit have moved the High Court and obtained a stay on the company's closure.  "In this regard, the company has been asked to explore alternate measures including sale proceeds of moveable assets to arrange on their own," Geete said.    
About Tungabhadra Steel Products Ltd, the Minister said VRS has been completed for all employees and all dues have been settled.  In the case of Hindustan Cables, Geete said all employees except 125 people of Naini unit, Allahabad have opted for VRS. "Naini unit has been transferred to HAL with 125 employees. Amount of Rs 250.98 crore has been released for VRS/VSS. Dues have been settled in all cases except 21 cases due to technical reasons," he noted.    
Geete said 466 employees of the Hindustan Photo Films Mfg Co Ltd have been relieved through VRS and 167 employees are still on the rolls of the company.  About HMT Ltd (Tractor Division), Geete said that out of 1,001 employees, 849 have been relieved on VRS/VSS.    
"An amount of Rs 303.68 crore has been released to the company on January 19, 2017 for VRS/VSS purpose. An additional fund amounting to Rs 240 crore was released to the company on February 10, 2017 for VRS/VSS and the balance amount which is still to be released is Rs 175.04 crore," he said.    
He also said employee representatives have filed a writ petition challenging the order on closure of the tractor unit. The Ministry of Labour & Employment accorded permission of closure of units of tractor division. 152 employees did not opt for VRS/VSS and approached the High Court against the closure decision and the court has granted stay against the closure.
In the Kota unit of Instrumentation Ltd, Geete said VRS/VSS for its employees was opened from December 8, 2016 till March 18, 2017. "Government has approved an amount of Rs 438 crore approximately for the purpose of payment of pending salary, statutory dues etc. of its employees, which amounts to approximately Rs 438 crore. “Further, action to release the amount would be initiated when VRS/VSS is closed," the Minister said.
Employees are paid attractive compensation at the time of closure sick central public sector enterprises (CPSEs), Union Minister Anant Geete said.
Emphasising that workers' interests are kept in mind while formulating restructuring plans for sick and loss-making CPSEs, he said that VRS is given for them at 2007 notional pay scale. As far as the Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) is concerned, the Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister said it has been undertaking appraisal of the status of each CPSE on a case-to-case basis.
"The ones having profitability potential are supported to improve their performance while the chronically sick and loss- making companies are closed down with attractive compensation to the employees," he said.
Besides, the government has given in-principle approval for the strategic disinvestment or merger of certain CPSEs.
These include 100 per cent disinvestment of Bridge & Roof Co, Scooters India (Lucknow) and Bharat Pumps & Compressors Ltd (Allahabad).
Geete said the units of Cement Corporation of India are to be disinvested "where it is legally permissible to strategic buyer through two-stage auction process".
Further, in-principle approval has been given for merger of Engineering Projects (India) with similarly placed CPSEs.
Another proposal that has received in-principle nod is the disinvestment of 100 per cent shareholding of the CPSE concerned in Hindustan Newsprints Ltd to strategic buyer through two-stage auction process, Geete said. Members from Kerala protested the Centre's move for disinvestment of Hindustan Newsprints, saying the entity was profitable. Responding to a query about the issue, Geete said a final decision on the matter has not been taken yet. Further, he said the department has no information on unrest among the workers on account of their dues. "There are no reports of labour unrest in the CPSEs/ units under closure functioning under DHI," he added.

No comments:

Post a Comment