N.S.Vageesh

Chennai, Oct. 19

DISAGREEMENTS between the unions and the managements of public sector general insurance companies over "transfers" are holding up the notification of the wage revision.

The Unions and the managements represented by GIPSA (General Insurance Public Sector companies Association) had come to an understanding in late July about an increase of around 13 per cent in wages.

The increase was, however, linked to the unions agreeing to a transfer policy for Class III employees (Senior Assistants and Assistants).

The wage revision, when notified, would be effective from August 2002.

The GIPSA had proposed a transfer and mobility policy for Class III employees on the lines of an agreement that had been signed between the banks and the unions.

The GIPSA's Vice-President, HR, Mr A.K.Singhal, said, "After the VRS in the public sector companies, there are pockets of surplus and deficit in different areas. We want to balance these things. We propose to have compulsory transfers for those who have stayed in the same location for 10 years. We will do this in a phased manner over a period of 3-4 years. About 20 to 25 per cent of such staff will be transferred every year under our proposal."

Initially, the GIPSA had proposed that transfers and redeployment would be within a radius of 250 km for employees in metros and within geographic regions for employees in non-metro areas. Transferred employees would be offered a "disturbance allowance" of Rs 400 per month during the period of posting, while their house rent allowance (HRA) and city compensatory allowance (CCA) would be protected.

The unions are opposed to any transfers of class III employees, regardless of distance. They argue that since these employees have no financial powers or decision-making authority, there is no point in transferring them. Asked for his reaction, Mr Singhal said, "That is an argument that is per se not acceptable. We think, if a person stays in the same seat for long, his development is hindered."

Mr Singhal sounded hopeful of clinching a final agreement and having the revision notified before Diwali. The unions and GIPSA are meeting at New Delhi shortly to discuss the matter further.

Meanwhile Mr J. Gurumurthy, Secretary, All India Insurance Employees Association, said, "We have called for a lunch hour demonstration on October 25 to protest the delay in wage notification."

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 20, 2005)
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