Pune Municipal Transport body, workers wash dirty linen in public
The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) has not, for the last four years, given its workers the three sets of uniforms that it is supposed to every year. This has not, however, stopped the transport body from fining its staff Rs 300 for not wearing the proper uniform.
50 shades of brown: PMPML workers say a new uniform costs at least Rs 500, so they go to the Juna Bazaar and buy old uniforms. Representation Pic
According to a 1997 contract between the PMPML (then Pune Municipal Transport) administration and the workers union, all the conductors, drivers, workshop workers, security guards, peons and women workers are supposed to get three sets of uniforms per year.
“Our repeated requests to the PMPML administration have fallen on deaf ears and they do not want to consider our demand, which is legal according to the 1997 contract. We have sent them several official reminders, but to no avail,” said Rajendra Kharade, president, PMPML workers union.
“The administration must look into this immediately as the workers have been wearing uniforms they have had to purchase. Their income isn’t high enough for them to keep buying uniforms, which get dirty while working,” added Kharade.
Twisting the knife
A December 24, 2013, notice by PMPML stated that employees who are found without duty uniform would be fined R300, and action continues to be taken against employees. “This is ridiculous and unacceptable. If the administration is not giving uniforms and then issuing such notices, it just goes on to show how they treat their own employees. Our union will wait for another month, and if the uniforms are not given, we will call for a strike and do a chakka jam andolan,” said Nuruddin Inamdar, union secretary.
All for show?
“Another important thing is that, in the last four years, the administration has called for tender applications to purchase the duty uniforms every year, but it then says that the process hasn’t worked out. They only show workers that a tender has been issued. No uniforms are purchased and only assurances are given that the situation will be different the following year,” added Inamdar.
Speaking to mid-day, a PMPML driver said, “It is very difficult to manage with only one uniform and, thus, we have to keep at least two or three. A new uniform costs at least Rs 500, so we go to the Juna Bazaar and buy old uniforms. Besides, they keep getting dirty and there is the additional cost of washing them. I hope we get our uniforms soon, so that we can save money.”
PMPML spokesperson Deepak Pardeshi said, “The duty inform issue has been pending and we are working on it. A tender has been issued and we are hoping that the process will be complete in 15 days so that all the employees can get their uniforms.”