Citing the absence of traffic jams on city roads on Sundays, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation has decided not to offer extra-time payment for its crew from this week. The move has triggered disgruntlement among the staff, who point out that there were pockets in the city like T Nagar that witnessed crowd and congestion even on Sundays.
On regular days, on the other hand, buses fail to adhere to the timings prescribed in the timetable due to traffic bottlenecks. According to the Section 33 of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the employer can ask the staff to work up to 9 hours a day, spread across a 12-hour shift. But he must pay double the rate for any hour or part of hour of actual work in excess of 9 hours (or more than 48 hours in a week).
Under this rule, the drivers and conductors are being paid for each extra working hour on all the days. According to the equation followed in the present system, the MTC pays its employees after dividing their pay and dearness allowance by 26. It is further divided by 8 to arrive at the hourly wage of workers.
“The corporation has imposed a blanket ban on extra time on Sundays, though the quantum of traffic varies in each area across the city on the weekend. For instance, this rule should not be applicable to drivers and conductors operating buses along T Nagar, which bustles with activities and congestion on the roads is a constant scene on Sundays,” said P Balakrishnan, working president of the State Transport Employees Union.
Currently, the transport utility operates 3,439 buses along 680 bus routes from 34 depots across the city.