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Punjab

Posted at: May 17, 2018, 2:11 AM; last updated: May 17, 2018, 2:11 AM (IST)

Double whammy for staff on probation

Struggle with meagre salaries and harsh working conditions

Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 16

Constable Rahul Badhu, who was deployed with the 6th IRB Battalion of the Punjab Police at Ladha Kothi, Sangrur, resigned recently, citing harsh working conditions and arduous leave procedure as the main reasons. His resignation has stirred up a hornet’s nest among 40,000 government employees on probation.

The constable complained that whenever he needed casual leave, he had to approach his seniors for their recommendation.

This has left the trade union worried as it fears that the situation may aggravate if the concept of ‘equal pay for equal work’ is not implemented.

Employees, recruited after January 1, 2015, get Rs 10,800. No TA/DA or house rent allowance is given to them. They are called probation or temporary employees. Rahul Bhadu, who resigned on May 10, was one of them.

Union leaders claimed that 40,000 employees too were facing the same problem. “A majority of them are serving in the Education, Local Bodies, Jails and Police Departments,” they said.

Amarjit Shastri, senior vice-president of the Democratic Mulazim Federation, said there were no fixed working hours for such employees and when it came to granting them leave, they had to face harassment.

“A regular employee working in the same capacity gets five to seven times more salary. The apex court has ordered the implementation of ‘equal pay for equal work’, still the government is not doing enough. A regular teacher gets Rs 50,000 to Rs 70,000, but a probation employee gets only Rs 10,800,” said Shastri.

Bikramdev Singh, another union leader, claimed that the employees were not given any TA/DA or house rent allowance. “This is unfair. It is high time the government woke up and gave them their due on a par with their regular counterparts,” he said.

A Pathankot teacher, who travels 110 km daily in a shared cab to her place of posting in Dera Baba Nanak, spends Rs 2,500 per month. She said: “The government should do something about the problem otherwise many more such resignations will come.”

Sources said the government was not implementing the Supreme Court order due to financial constraints. However, a teacher dismissed the theory, saying: “If the government can dole out huge sums for waiving debt, why can’t it give equal pay for equal work.”

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