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Labour reined in, Metro declared disruption-free project

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Story Dated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 09:17 hrs EDT

In a decision that may put labour problems plaguing the Kochi Metro project to rest, a meeting of all stakeholders declared the Metro rail a disruption-free project. In the remaining 993 days left to complete the project, neither the Metro's contractors nor its labourers will indulge in any act that may bring the Rs 5,180 crore project to a halt. A two-tier system will be put in place to address labour issues that have risen at construction sites of Kochi Metro.

In case of a dispute, the concerned party should first approach a committee chaired by the district collector, with the regional joint commissioner as its convener, before resorting to strike. The committee will also have representatives of both Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) as its members. If this committee fails to provide a solution, the parties can approach a high-level committee chaired by the labour minister, with the labour commissioner as its convener. The transport minister, the managing director of KMRL and a senior official from DMRC, and two representatives of central trade unions will be its members.

Transport minister Aryadan Muhammed and labour minister Shibu Baby John jointly announced the decision after convening a meeting with representatives of KMRL, DMRC, the labour department and office-bearers of both contractors and trade unions on Tuesday.

The ministers announced a five-point agenda to find a permanent solution for labour issues. Due to labour problems, the Metro recently lost almost four-and-a-half working days. Commenting on labour troubles, labour minister said, "The labourers will not stay away from work and contractors will not stop it. We will also reach a consensus with labour unions operating at the local level."

It was also agreed to pay workers the existing local wages. "When workers are shifted from one region to another, and if wages at this region is higher than what was paid to them at the previous location, the labourers are entitled to higher wages," said Aryadan.

Meanwhile, DMRC has decided to start work on MG Road on Thursday.

Aryadan also promised to clarify the quantity of work that has to be done by each worker. "A uniform productivity policy will be implemented soon," he added.

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