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Amended medical benefit scheme for BPCL workers: Kerala HC defers implementation by two months

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on July 16, 2021

A view of the BPCL's Kochi Refinery in Kerala. File Photo   -  The Hindu

Workers’ unions at the Kochi Refinery contended that excluding employees with less than 15 years of service from the scheme is illegal

The Kerala High Court on Thursday admitted a writ petition filed by workers and unions at the Kochi Refinery of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) challenging the changes made by the state-run oil firm in the eligibility conditions for coverage under the Post-Retirement Medical Benefits Scheme (PRMBS) and deferred its implementation by two months.

On June 10, BPCL issued a circular amending the eligibility conditions for availing the scheme, which excluded employees with less than 15 years of service on June 1, from its scope.

The workers and unions contended in the writ petition that excluding employees with less than 15 years of service from the scheme was “directly against the provisions of the long-term (wage) settlement entered into between the respondent Corporation (BPCL) and its employees and is therefore illegal”.

The petitioners asked the court to issue directions to BPCL “to continue contribution to the post-retirement medical benefits scheme for employees and further not to transfer any amounts under the post-retirement medical benefits scheme to the National Pension Scheme pending disposal of the writ petition”.

The court admitted the petitions during a hearing on July 15.

“Further proceedings pursuant to the impugned circular, including the exclusion of workmen eligible under the long-term settlement scheme from the post-retirement medical benefits scheme and the transfer of funds to the National Pension Scheme in terms of sub-clause (iii) of clause 2 of the impugned circular shall stand deferred for a period of two months,” Mrs Justice Anu Sivaraman wrote in the July 15 order.

Published on July 16, 2021

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