Indian Railways' subsidiary Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has decided to end the stint of over 500 contractual hospitality supervisors, stating that they were no more required under the "present circumstances", according to sources. The firm had recruited 560 supervisors in 2018 to maintain a quality check on contractors hired to serve food in trains equipped with pantries.
The hospitality supervisors' job involved monitoring operations of the pantry car onboard trains which essentially means to take care of the preparation of the food, quality inspection, handling passenger complaints and to ensure that the charges of food are according to prices notified by the national transporter.
The IRCTC, in a letter, dated June 25, informed all its zonal offices that there was no requirement for these contractual workers under the present circumstances and they be given one month notice and their contracts terminated.
¨The requirement of Supervisor (Hospitality) engaged on contract basis has been reviewed in the revised catering model and it has been decided that under present circumstances, services of Supervisor (Hospitality), engaged on contract basis are no more required,” the letter stated.
When contacted, an IRCTC spokesperson confirmed the developments, but indicated that the organisation was rethinking.
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¨We are rethinking the matter. We are mulling if we can reconsider the decision. Certain steps will be taken in this regard,” IRCTC spokesperson Siddharth Singh said.
However, for those who have already been handed termination letters, it looks like no turning back.
The contractual employees, who are all from the hospitality industry, have sought intervention of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.
¨@PiyushGoyal Sir, I am working in Irctc as Hospitality Supervisor but unfortunately now irctc decided to terminate all supervisors in huge quantity from pan india so we will be jobless now, family depends on us. plz do needful for us. shall be thankful sir (sic),” tweeted Arun Kumar.
Many among those whose contracts were terminated received their letters on June 26, sources said.
In a letter to IRCTC, the employees have said that they were willing to take a 5-15% paycut, but appealed that they not be terminated.
They also said they played a major role in increasing revenue and the IRCTC's impact "by glaring and perceptible improvements brought in by academically qualified, skilled and experienced Supervisors (Hospitality) at workplace which impacted long lasting and favourable IRCTC's business”.
“In the backdrop of such challenging situation amid Covid-19, PSU which is owned by Union Govt of India and State, become a role model to other private sectors by supporting the stability of economy and morality towards society by at least safeguarding the employment of their own establishment/organisation till Covid -19 neutralised,” the letter states.
¨I am employee of IRCTC. Now IRCTC has terminated 540 hospitality Supervisor. In this pandemic situation, where we have to go for a job. Who will give jobs to us? How we will survive.@PiyushGoyal @PiyushGoyalOffc(sic) ,” said another such employee, Sarabjit Das.
Currently, only 230 special trains are in service along with the Shramik Special trains. All regular passenger services have been suspended since March 23.Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here