Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) has re-worked its post-retirement medical benefit scheme (PRMBS) which excludes employees with less than 15 years of service on June 1, from its scope.

“The existing PRMBS has been amended by the management unilaterally, violating the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) guidelines and breach of long-term settlement (LTS) terms as well as natural justice,” four workers unions at the Kochi refinery of BPCL wrote in a joint letter to the management.

“The unilateral decisions taken by the BPCL management to exclude the existing employees on a large scale, who have not completed 15 years from the PRMB scheme should be reversed and the present scheme should be continued without any change,” they demanded.

The joint letter was written by the Cochin Refineries Workers Association (CITU), Cochin Refineries Employees Association (INTUC), Refinery Employees Union (REU) and the BPCL Mazdoor Sangh (BMS). The workers unions also staged a protest at the Kochi refinery on Wednesday to press their demand.

The workers union feel that the scheme has been revamped to sweeten the deal for the potential buyers of BPCL during the ongoing privatisation process.

According to the re-worked scheme, only employees who have completed 25 years of service on June 1 will be eligible for PRMBS.

Employees, who have completed more than 15 and less than 25 years of service on June 1, will be given a one-time irrevocable voluntary option to enrol for the PRMB scheme.

Employees with less than 15 years of service on June 1 will not be eligible for the scheme.

Employees who continue under the scheme would be required to make monthly contributions which will be accounted under superannuation benefits and at the time of their separation, they will be required to make the applicable enrolment contribution, according to the modified scheme that took effect from June 1.