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Days after Coal India revised the wages in the company, its employees are protesting against the disparity of wage structure in Coal India with other public sector utilities. The employees have also alleged that the executive staff has increased its salary at par with other ‘Maharatna PSUs’ such as ONGC but that of non-executive staff continues to be low. Senior officials in Coal India said the “young employees are urging their colleagues to raise the concern over low wages as it will impact their future growth.” In a WhatsApp message being circulated among the staff, it said: “The recommended pay scales are two grades lower than the pay scales of other CPSEs, ONGC, BPCL and HPCL. Committee justified that ONGC was ahead of CIL in last pay revision in 2007 and they cannot compare CIL with ONGC and other PSUs. The same committee adopted honorarium (i.e. their salary) of independent directors of CIL, in line with ONGC couple of months ago, considering it to be the best. The height of double standards is that committee said it cannot raise the salary of CIL's executives as it would be a violation of DPEs Guidelines.” The message was reviewed by Business Standard. At the same time, some employees ran series of tweets posting their photos with a black armband and posters saying “#RemovePayAnamolyCIL #CoalIndia4Equality” tagging union Twitter handle of union coal minister Piyush Goyal and the office of the Prime Minister. The same set of employees also posted photos of coal miners and tweeted, “We bring happiness, We deserve to be happy”. The WhatsApp messages also urged the employees to take up action. “Speak to our Functional Directors & request them to take up the matter further before 25th Nov. Also submit representation to Chairman.” The messages, mostly aimed at the younger generation, asked them to circulate it on social media and said, “Young executives think thousand times — if it's not in 2017, it would never be in 2027, 2037 or 2047. We will always be two grades below other Maharatna PSUs.
Remind the company & director (P&IR), CIL, to walk the talk. When they talk about next generation, why do they want CIL's next generation officials to lag behind.”The Coal India board will be taking a decision on wage revision on November 25 where it is expected that the executive employees will be presenting their case to Coal India's Chairman and Managing Director Gopal Singh. A senior Coal India official, who did not wish to be named, said ONGC employees were getting better pay than Coal India as ONGC had revised its wages in 2007 after merging and modifying the various salary overheads internally. After the ONGC top management cleared the proposal, it was subsequently sent to the oil ministry that cleared it. “Coal India missed the bus in 2007. This time also, the revision both in Coal India as well as ONGC has been in accordance with the Department of Public Enterprises guidelines. However, we are ready to support their interests if an appeal is made but we have to take it up separately,” the official told Business Standard. He, however, added the executives seeking higher or revised pay will have to first justify the cause of the revision to the company management post after which a board decision will be taken and will subsequently be sent to the coal ministry for approval. A spokesperson for Ministry of Coal Anil Saxena did not respond to a detailed questionnaire sent via mail. Under the wage policy approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday for the eighth round of negotiations for workmen in Central PSUs, management would be free to negotiate wage revision for workmen where the periodicity of wage settlement of five years or 10 years has expired on December 31, 2016 keeping in view the affordability and financial sustainability of such wage revision for the company. The management would have to ensure that negotiated scales of workmen do not exceed the existing scales of pay of executives/officers and non-unionized supervisors of respective companies. A senior Coal India official said, "The wages of executives at the lowest level are higher than the highest wage a non-executive employee, which stands at Rs 47,000 a month.” On Tuesday, November 21, the Coal Mines Officers Association of India wrote to Deputy General Manager (P/PC) submitting inputs for adjustment of pay for executives. “Anomalous situation arises due to disproportionate fitment and different periodicity offered to the executive cadre. Further, it is to mention that such non-executives who were promoted earlier got less no of pay fitment of NCWA as well executives fitment,” said the letter reviewed by the paper. The letter also compared salary of Coal India employees with that of ONGC and asked for a fitment of 18-24 per cent increase in basic pay/otherwise in their final wage. There are about 1.234 million employees in 320 central PSUs in the country. Out of these, about 299,000 employees are board level and below board level executives and non-unionized supervisors. The remaining 935,000 employees belong to the unionized workmen category. Wage revision in respect of unionized workmen is decided by trade unions and management in accordance with guidelines issued by the Department of Public Enterprises for wage negotiations.