Thursday, 13 June 2013

Trivandrum Victim

This is a rather tragic story of some helpless employees working in C-DAC, Trivandrum a government of India organisation under DeiTY. 

For a lot of reasons, we have thought a lot before writing this. It is a very detailed account and we suggest you read it with patience. There is a lot to learn for us employees and a lot to be learnt by the management  also. Any resemblance of this para to the recent LempBrew Pub incident blog may be excused as we feel we have also gone through a similar but prolonged mental agony. 

Please excuse us if the write up feels a bit overly official and long. From everybody who is reading, we humbly ask for nothing but spreading this news of mental torture and despotism. If you can do anything more than that we cannot have words to thank you.

We even tried to sent an SOS to concerned dignitaries. But understandably they being too busy were not concerned with a random post.

Hon Min of State in Min of Labor - Shri Kodikkunnil Suresh Facebook

So here is the whole experience. 

Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) the premier R&D organization of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (MCIT) released an Office memorandum [No.12/12] [REF.1] dated SEP 30, 2012 from CDAC corporate office, Pune about the revision of salary and uniform designation for staff on consolidated pay. The order states the implementation and publication on notice boards with immediate effect. It also states the salary structure provided in that to be implemented WEF OCT 2012.

 CDAC Trivandrum published it only on DEC 27, 2012 and kept the employees [employees will mean contract employees on consolidated pay throughout this letter] in dark for nearly 4 months. As the contract term for the concerned employees is usually 1 year [3 years at max], this period of 4 months is a relatively considerable time. CDAC Trivandrum also gave fresh contracts [REF.4] for 2 years to the employees, about 150 in numbers, whose contracts were ending on DEC 31 2012. Clause 1 of the contract [REF.4] says

Your Designation will be PROJECT ENGINEER I. You shall be paid a Consolidated Salary of Rs. 15750/- (Rupees Fifteen thousand seven hundred and fifty only) (all inclusive) without any other allowances. Your designation and salary are being revised as per Office Memorandum 12/12 of September 30, 2012. This will be communicated separately.

But the implementation was again not done. Instead CDAC Trivandrum published another OM 7/13 dated March 11, 2013 [REF.2] on May 1st 2013 saying that Salary structure described in OM 12/12 [REF.1] is just general guidelines and sort of an upper limits within which the Excecutive Director of the respective centres with consent of Project Owners at that centre can decide the Pay for that centre. OM 7/13 [REF.2] also says Annual Increments shall be bound by OM 12/12 [REF.1]. If you have watched the famous movie ‘The Pirates of the Carribean 1’ you will get a pun here.

C-DAC(T) implemented some clauses [leave related etc] from OM 12/12  [REF.1] WEF October 2012, in the month of November 2012. But still did not publish the OM 12/12 [REF.1] nor did it implement the revised salary structure.

The employees were kept in dark over the matter since January. Meanwhile the employees were trying to submit clarification queries to the management. But after accepting one such query on 27th FEB 2012, submitted by majority of the employees, the management not only failed to reply but refused to entertain such queries further. Meanwhile orally the management was giving the employees random reasons like - that the Director General of C-DAC was against implementing it as such, there are no sufficient funds available to implements etc.

Finally in April last week, the employees arranged a meeting with the Executive Director of C-DAC (T) and Head, HR, C-DAC (T). C-DAC (T) then released a circular [REF.3] in which they have fixed a random Pay which is way less than that specified in the OM 12/12 and they have devised a separate calculation for Annual increments. On 9 May 2013, employees are informed about the implementation of new salary revision adopted by the centre with respect to the salary revision proposed by the management board of C-DAC. A circular is released on 10 May 2013 (Friday) around 5.00PM notifying the constitution of an Anomaly Committee dealing with the matters of salary revision with. All employees on consolidated pay, except those who signed REF.4 in January 2013, were issued with fresh letter of agreement [REF.6] stating the revised salary, designation and revised conditions governing their contract. For those who signed REF.4 in January 2013 were issued a document [REF.5] stating the revised salary and designation only. Even though REF.5 and REF.6 were dated 9 May 2013, majority of the employees received the same on 13 May 2013 only and a few receiving it on 10th May, 2013 evening. 11th and 12th May, 2013 being holidays for the centre the majority received REF.5/REF.6 on 13th May, 2013. A ‘Form of option’ [REF.7] was also attached with REF.5 and REF.6. The document insisted the employees to fill the ‘form of option’ [REF.7] reflecting their option and return to HR to reach latest by 15 May 2013, effectively giving only 3 days’ time to take decision on the matter. [REF.7] was supposed to be given to those employees who signed REF.4 in January along with REF.4 itself. As per REF.4, more than 50 contract employees on consolidated pay were assured that their salary and designation are being revised as per OM 12/12 dated 30 September 2012[REF.1] and stated that the same will be communicated separately. According the documents dated 9 May 2013[REF.5], their salary fixed was different from the salary offered under OM 12/12[REF.1].

The ‘Form of Option’ [REF.7] distributed along with REF.5 is contradictory with REF.4 and forced the employees to accept the new revision proposed by C-DAC, Thiruvananthapuram by making it ambiguous.

As per clause 6 and 13 of OM 12/12 [REF.1], years of experience at C-DAC should be considered for fixing the salary as there will not be any increment in January 2013. But the revision implemented is seemingly implying that C-DAC, Thiruvananthapuram manipulated the clauses for vested interested of some officials of the centre. As per ‘The Guidelines 2009 for Recruitment of Project Based Technical & Non-technical Staff on contract and on consolidated salary in CDAC (T)’ [REF.8], C-DAC(T) will provide annual increment to an employee on consolidated pay in January, if the employee completed at least 6 months of service at CDAC (T) on or before 31st December of the preceding year. Please consider the following cases to see the disparity. A Project Engineer-1 who joined in CDAC (T) in the following years.

Joining Date in C-DAC(T)
Years of Experience (increments) should be considered while fixing salary as per OM 12/12 clause 4
Salary fixation as per
OM 12/12 (Agreed by
C-DAC(T) as per REF.4 in
January 2013)
As per the
criteria followed
by C-DAC(T),
considered for
salary fixation
fixation by
1st Jan 2010 -
30th Jun 2010
1st July 2010 –
1st Oct 2010**
1st Oct 2010 –
30th June 2011
1st July 2011 –
30th Sep 2011
30th Sep 2011

** OM12/12 stands valid from 1st October 2012

                As per the salary fixation done by C-DAC (T), Engineers joined as Project Engineer -I from July 2010 onwards will draw the same salary applicable to a fresh graduate joined till 31st December 2013 and their experience has given no value. This is not a unique case, this had happened across various designations of C-DAC (T). This is happened because the management of C-DAC (T) is trying to subvert the guidelines issued under OM 12/12 dated 30th September 2012 [REF.1] and OM 7/13 dated 11th March 2013 [REF.2].

The ‘Form of Option’ [REF.7] distributed along with the REF.5 and REF.6 should be used by the employees to exercise their option whether they like to accept the revision or like to continue with the old contract. The ‘Form of option’ [REF.7], is worded in such a way that to coerce the employees to believe that the revision is made in line with the guidelines issued under OM12/12 [REF.1] and OM7/13 [REF.2]. It hasn’t mentioned anything relating to the modification done by C-DAC (T). In fact REF.3 is nowhere referenced in REF.5, REF.6 or REF.7. Nor did REF.3 exist in January when REF.4 was signed.

The salary revision done by C-DAC (T) is far from the guidelines issued under the above mentioned documents. As already mentioned, C-DAC (T) renewed the contract of more than 100 employees early this year. As per the agreement signed, C-DAC (T) agreed to this category of employees that they will be paid the salary mentioned in OM 12/12 [REF.1 - Annexure A]. It was included as a contract term in that agreement. But after 4 months of the agreement, in 9th May 2013, C-DAC (T) unilaterally altered the salary [REF.5] and required these employees to accept the new salary by giving unlawful options in the ‘Form of Options’[REF.7]. Regarding the new salary there are two options available for the employees to choose from using the ‘Form of Option’ [REF.7]. First is to accept the salary revision done by C-DAC (T) as the salary revision proposed by the management board issued under OM 12/12 [REF.1] or else continue with the older contract with existing pay and designation. For those who received the new contract agreement, their previous contract valid till 31st December 2012 was nullified by the contract agreement signed in January 2013 [REF.4 clause 19] and the contract in force assures them the salary as per OM 12/12 [REF.1 Annexure A]. They find the option given is contradictory with the agreement signed by them and C-DAC (T).

 C-DAC (T) denied the basic rights of these employees by showing an office memorandum which was not in existence at the time of signing the agreement; OM 7/13 dated 11 March 2013. This is a blatant violation of contract agreement signed in January 2013 and seems to be purposefully fabricated to express a lame excuse for reducing salary. When raised concerns regarding the same, some of the senior officials silently accepted the ‘breach of contract’, but the management is reluctant to answer the concerns of these employees regarding the matter.

 Some of these employees whose contract were going to end in December 2012 applied for and received job offers from other reputed firms with a salary more or less same as the salary offered under OM 12/12 [REF.1 Annexure A]. They, whose contract renewed in January 2013, discarded these offers believing that they are going to get a pay hike in line with OM 12/12[REF.1 Annexure A]. Now these employees’ economic prospects are at stake due to the inhumane approach of the management of C- DAC (T). They were not able to reapply for the same job as they denied the same stating the pay hike in C-DAC (T).

The new salary revision done by C-DAC (T) read along with OM 7/13 [REF.2] could be seen only as a cheap drama to ensure the availability of experienced human resource on less pay at the centre. A committee was formed by Executive Director of C-DAC (T) to revise the salary of contract employees on consolidated salary ‘in the best interest of the organization’. The formation of such a committee to modify a much contemplated matter by C-DAC management board could be seen only as a plot to reduce the salary as the said committee even doesn’t have proper minutes of meetings. An anomaly committee was formed later to consider the grievance and anomaly regarding the salary revision. It is ironical that the same person chairs both the committees. An intransigent person is asked to review and correct the injustice done. This shows the true face of C-DAC (T) managements’ treatment towards the concerns of employees on consolidated pay. Due to the regulations issued under ED/CDAC/GEN/2013, the employees are forced by the management of C-DAC not to reveal the identity while complaining about this service related matter and even our grievances are not even forwarded to the Centre Head through proper channel. We humbly request your immediate intervention in the matter and bring justice to employees on consolidated pay working in C-DAC, Trivandrum

The new salary revision done by C-DAC (T) treats a person with 2 years of experience and a fresher going to join the centre in the same way by giving them same salary, which is against the guidelines issued by C-DAC, HQ. C-DAC (T) formulated a salary committee to justify their acts and the committee’s only aim is to reduce the salary and nothing else. The chairman of the salary revision committee is again nominated as the chairman of the salary fixation anomaly committee which shows the delinquent attitude of C-DAC (T) towards contract employees on consolidated pay.

Circular has been issued against contract employees on consolidated pay [REF.9], warning them that severe action will be taken against them if they publically discuss the matter in C-DAC (T). George Orwell’s ‘1984’ as well as Fraz Kafkas ‘The Castle’ serves the best resemblance to these events.

C-DAC (T) has violated an office order by not implementing it for 7 months, which is almost 30 % of the career that the employees have, and then grossly violating their contract agreement with the employees by implementing the order and not following the clauses in it. Last but not the least the delinquent and despotic attitude of C-DAC (T) has really affected the moral of the employees and that is what hit them the hardest.

There is no way that any individual can file a lawsuit or even protest against this decision as majority of the employees are sole bread winners of their family and if they do protest in some way they stand to lose their jobs. Also a mass protest is out of question as then the management is in a position to take action against the employees. Another reason for non-viability of such a move is that many employees are in fear of the authorities and are literally unwilling to cooperate and are of the opinion that something is better than nothing. Their position is understandable as they are sole bread winners as mentioned above and a sudden unemployment with their age into the latter half of 30 will be a blow to them.  Of Course nobody is a Julian Assange or Edward Snowden in C-DAC (T) and if this culture is followed there is a doubt there will ever be even Gandhijis. We humbly request your immediate intervention/advice in the matter and bring justice to employees on consolidated pay working in C-DAC, Trivandrum.

For the fun [tragedy] of it the chronological events are given below.

1.       SEP 30, 2012, REF.1 released, but not published.
2.       NOV 2012, some clauses of REF.1 implemented without publishing REF.1
3.       DEC 27, 2012, REF.1 published in C-DAC (T)
4.       DEC 28, 2012, around 150 employees given fresh contracts [duration 2 years] saying their salary is being revised as per REF.1. REF.7 which was supposed to be given along with the same not given.
5.       APR 01, 2013, a random sum [20% of employee’s current salary since OCT, 2012] is credited to their accounts without any revision of salary as an Ad-hoc amount.
6.       APR, 2013, employees meet Executive Director and Head, HR, C-DAC (T) and are given oral assurances that ‘something’ will be implemented at the earliest.
7.       MAY 01, 2013, REF.3 published in C-DAC (T) which is in no way related to OM 12/12 [REF. 1].
8.       MAY 03, 2013, REF.9 published
9.       MAY 09, 2013, C-DAC (T) [claims] informs the employee that it has implemented the revised salary as per OM 12/12 [REF.1].
10.   MAY 10, 2013, C-DAC (T) forms an ‘Anomaly Committee’ to address the anomalies. But no questions, clarifications related to mismatch of implemented salary structure and OM 12/12 [REF.1] are even forwarded. There are even veiled threats to consider consequences if these queries are to be forwarded. Subsequently the last date for anomaly submission given as MAY 31, 2013.
11.   MAY 30, 2013, all employees credited with salary as per REF.3.

Please don’t neglect this  as bogus, as we don’t have any hope left to get justice.

My Twitter Acount -

PS: You might be tempted to apply seeing all the salary and this being a govt organisation and all that. But if you like to be respected as person well....

PPS: Please post a comment if you support us. Anything will do.

PPPS:Just adding a little piece of info. ALL CENTRES OF CDAC have implemented the above mentioned order. ONLY CDAC (T) is not implementing it and is , being tyrannic and a curmudgeon.