Thursday, July 11, 2019

Contract Labour Issue

Contract Labour Issue
Tender Document/ Agreement   Speaks   So

                                  - R.Pattabiraman

On June 14th I posted the report of CAG on Contract Labour System in Railways. In that I mentioned that even the Railway Minister Shri Pyush Goyal who initiated Contract Labour Payment Management Portal in Coal failed in Railways to initiate such a system. There is no awareness  in BSNL about that system at all.
On April 7th 2019 I reported about how the Contract Labour Payment management portal was created in Coal and how it started functioning. In the NLC the system is known as CLMS. In that posting I just quoted the relevant chapter of CLRA Act 1970 in connection with the responsibility of Contractor and on failing the responsibility of Principal employer for payment of wages,  the facts known to many activists fighting for the welfare of the  contract workers.
In the last BSNL HOCC Meeting an alarming figure was recorded – The fact revealed on that meeting stands that one lakh Contract Labourers are presently engaged by different contractors for carrying out the BSNL services. This makes the issue a very serious one. The financial crisis is an added factor to make the issue worse. It is being reported in WB circle some contract Labourers lost their life choosing suicide as the solution to free from this wretched life.
The Government which is committed to adopt Direct Cash Transfer system to the beneficiaries in the welfare schemes is not ready to do the same for contract workers.   Labourers,   lakh in numbers are made to depend upon  thousands of irresponsible contractors  who failed to  give payment in due date by 7th of every month by caring least his tender agreement with the management in respective SSAs.
The Principal employer in every SSA also failed to act in compliance with the statutory laws of the land rectifying the failure of contractor and paying straight to contract labour as per the register it should have with Name and other detail of the laborers’. The enforcement establishment like LEO, Central Labour commissioners of the respective region also failed on their part by not doing any inspection or addressing and settling the grievances then and there in their jurisdiction to mitigate the sufferings of the needy.
There is a complete misunderstanding and less awareness about the system, the relevant laws in the  various rungs of the administration. This causes serious hardships in the life of contract workers, who were already struggling to meet both ends. I happened to see many letters addresed to Corporate Office demanding/ requesting disbursement of payment to contract Labourers. But the fact of the matter is  that Corporate Office is not paying wages to contract labourers but settling the  claims of contractors' bills only  which got consolidated and sent by  Circle Office to CO, ND.  Once bills are gone from SSAs after Pass Order, then that means payment is made by the contractor and EPF is paid and chalan is attached for the same to claim back from the BSNL. If wages are not sent to the respective Bank account of the workers- that wages not paid , and chalan for PF is  attached without paying to PF office, then the claim  is false and the bill is  bogus.
Some questions we need to ponder to make the system to work proper, though we find a  lot of practical difficulties. Unless all act with fairness, corrective measures may become difficult. But the need of the hour is  that all should act with utmost responsibility with the needy empathy.
Why any JTO/SDE is signing the certificate that Payments are sent by the contractors without verifying the bank pass books of  contract workers for the relevant month ( sample atleast)?
Why contractor bills are passed by the accounts section in the respective SSAs even after knowing wages not paid, PF not remitted or false chalan produced?
Why the principal employer the GM/PGM of the respective contract area failed to make arrangements or taking no initiative when knowing wages not paid to the labourers by the respective contractors as per the tender agreement? Why he is failing his duty by sending bogus bills to circle Office?
Why Circle Administration failed to send back the false claims after knowing that wages not paid, PF not remitted to the EPF office but falsely claimed by the contractor and wrongly passed by the SSA Administration?
Why Circle Vigilance or SSA Vigilance is silent about this  kind of wrong practices of claiming the false bills without adhering the tender conditions?
Why Corporate Office  failed to question about this false claim practice   of Contractors after  reading the letters  sent by the unions demanding payment of wages to contract workers which CO is not doing? Why they fail to clarify the issue whether they are paying wages to CL or settling bills to contractors?
Is there any idea of CAG to do any Contract System auditing in BSNL as done in the case of Railways? Is the issue   not more urgent in today’s condition?
If Contractors in the respective SSAs have any grievance about Non Payment by BSNL for their claims or any dispute on that why they failed to invoke the clause of Arbitration and bring the matter to the concerned arbitrator? Who is authorized to monitor from the settled amount of bills these fellows in return paying the wages and who is empowered to certify that? Sheer confusion…
I have gone thro some tender documents and taken two documents one from Coimbatore SSA of 2018 and another Trichy SSA  of July 2019. Both the documents are running into 112 pages. But for the benefit of those willing to see facts, I have extracted the relevant portions one to 4 pages ( CBT), and the other even less to 2 pages. On reading carefully, we can understand the system and how it works so falsely with bogus claiming as if they did all as per the tender assignment/ agreement without doing anything even in iota.
E Tender 5-4-2018
2.6. The service provider will be solely responsible for the employment of labourers and payment of wages, allowances and other benefits etc. to them and BSNL shall in no way responsible for the same. He should not wait for the BSNL’s payment to pay to his labourers. The payment has to  be made on or before 7 th of the following month without fail. Failing which 1% of amount of wages payable will be recoverable as penalty from his/ her very next bill for each week of delay or part thereof. The payment has to be made through Bank / cheque and salary slip should be issued to the labourers and the proof of payment should be enclosed. Employee’s contribution of ESI / EPF should be deducted and the same should be paid with employer’s contribution to the EPF / ESI account of the labourers.
2.7 Paid EPF challans of the labourers engaged by the contractors of Coimbatore SSA and IMPCS should be attached with the bills every month. The contractor should submit every month a copy of ECR along with the Challan containing the relevant details, in order to check the remitted amount status along with the names of employees for whom the contractor’s establishment has remitted the amount.
2.8. EPF payment of the labourers engaged by the contractor in respect of this tender should be remitted in the Office of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation, Coimbatore only.
2.13. Identity card should be supplied by the agency to their employees. No person will be allowed to work in BSNL without identity card.
2.14. The Housekeeping agencies should ensure that the persons employed by them should not participate in any Dharna or Agitation or strike organized by them or by the trade union / Association of BSNL. Tender will be terminated for violation of the above condition with the forfeiture of Security Deposit.
8.1. The contractor shall submit all his bills on monthly basis (calendar month) in triplicate on serially machine numbered printed forms only, to the officer (Divisional Engineer) concerned along with an advance stamped receipt on or before 5th of the following month. The acknowledgment for  submission of bills should be obtained from the concerned DEs. The contractor shall also submit a certificate that he had paid the wages as per minimum wages prescribed, to all his labourers for the previous month with the name of labourers, amount paid, date of payment etc. Without these copies the bills will not be considered for payment.
8.2. The bills for payment should be prepared neatly. The approved contractor should note the tender number in the concerned bills for payment.
8.3. The approved contractor shall strictly submit the bills as per clause 8.1. If the bills are not submitted within 15 days from the date of completion of work, the bills will be summarily rejected and claim will not be entertained.
8.4. The contractor shall enclose the payment copies of the previous month’s salary, GST , EPF, ESI Statement of both employer and employee’s contribution.
8.5. Previous month paid EPF challans of the labourers engaged by the contractors of this tender should be attached with the bills every month. The contractor should submit every month a copy of ECR along with the Challan containing the relevant details, in order to check the remitted amount status along with the names of employees for whom the contractors establishment has remitted the amount.
8.6. A copy of ESI card of each labourer should be enclosed with the bills submitted for payment for verification and record purpose.
8.7. The Minimum Wages as per the Ministry of Labour Notification amended from time to time will be paid.
8.8. The minimum wages in the establishment falling under Govt. of India revised by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Govt. of India will be paid as and when rates are increased/ changed but the amount of service charges quoted by the tenderers will remain the same during the entire period of contract including the extension, if any and GST will be paid as applicable.
8.9. The contractor shall submit a certificate that he had paid the wages as per Minimum Wages Act,to all his labourers for the previous month. Without these copies the bills will not be considered for payment.
8.11. The payment will be made through E - payment for which the contractor has to produce a mandate form.
8.12. Monthly payment to the labourers should be made by the contractors only through Banks /Cheque. Also salary slip should be issued to the labourers by the contractor. A monthly wage sheet contains the following columns should be enclosed with the bill.
1. Name of the labourers
2. Station
3. Wages per day
4. No of day’s duty
5. Total days paid
6. Total amount paid
Signature of the contractor                                       Signature of witness  (not below the rank of JTO)
8.13. The monthly bills of the contractors shall be accompanied with statement mentioned above and paid challans of EPF & ESI. In respect of EPF, a combined challan of EPF Account numbers with the details of Employer/ Employee contribution remitted to EPF Organization with TRRN Number and the list of labourers downloaded from the particular Account of the EPF Organization should be enclosed with the bills. These challans should be exclusively for the labourers of the concerned SSA only. No consolidated proof of challan by including various other SSAs will be accepted.
 8.14. Wages Register duly certified by the BSNL authorized officer is to be maintained by the contractor
9.1. BSNL Coimbatore reserves the right to blacklist a tenderer for a suitable period in case he fails to honour his tender without sufficient grounds.
9.6. This award of work contract does not confer any right to appointment in BSNL.
9.10. BSNL, Coimbatore reserves the right to increase / decrease upto 25% (both upto25% only) in the number of work units. For such increase / decrease, the amount payable will be equivalent on prorata basis calculated based on the agreed rate service charges per month.
16.1. All the successful tenderers are bound by the labour laws as amended from time to time and also bound by the various provisions of the said laws.
16.2. All payments of salaries, leave, Bonus, EPF, ESI Contribution for the labourers engaged by the contractor for the execution of the tender work and all other liabilities imposed by the Minimum Wages Act , Contract Labour (R & A) Act 1970, Bonus amendment Act 2015 and the EPF and ESI organizations wherever applicable will be the sole responsibility of the contractor. The guidelines as per the Bonus amendment Act 2015 should be followed. The payment of Bonus to the labourers engaged in this contract will be the responsibility of the tenderer and it will not be reimbursed by BSNL.
 BSNL Non executive & Executive employees also called Group-A and Group-B officers either directly recruited or on deputation and their near relatives are prohibited from participation in this tender. Hence, the tenderer participating in the BSNL tender should ensure that none of their near relatives are working in BSNL
33. The contract labourers deployed in the locations are to be given weekly off.
34. No contract labour should be utilized for beyond 8 hours in a particular day. No carry over of duty from the previous day (night duty) and the early morning duty. (i.e. continuous duty not allowed for more than 8 hours)
AGREEMENT :  4.11. (a) The Party of second part shall also be bound to discharge obligations as provided under various statutory enactment including the Employees Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Act, 1952,Employees Pension Scheme, 1995, ESI Act 1948, Contract Labour (Regulation and abolition) Act, 1970, Minimum Wages Act 1948, Payment of Wages Act 1936, Payment of Bonus amendment Act 2015, Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, Workmen's compensation Act 1923, Works Contract Act, 1999 and other relevant Acts, Rules and Regulations in force and as amended from time to time and are in force in the State where the subject work under this Contract are executed.
 (b) The engagement and employment of labourers and payment of wages to them as per existing provisions of various labour laws and regulations is the sole responsibility of the Party of second part and any breach of such laws or regulations shall be deemed to be breach of this contract. BSNL may ask the contractor to produce documents to verify that these provisions/laws are complied with by the contractor.
(c) All wages allied benefits such as leave, ESI, EPF, Gratuity , Bonus etc, shall be paid by the Party of second part and BSNL shall not incur any liability or additional expenditure whatsoever for personnel deployed
4.14. Maintenance of records
4.14.1. The Party of Second Part shall maintain a true and accurate record of all the salaries and direct operating expenses related to the expenses and other incidental activities.
5.1.1. The Party of First Part shall pay to the Party of second Part an amount based on the monthly bill. Any demand by the party of second Part shall not be entertained by the Party of first Part towards any other use apart from this agreement shall not be claimed and is agreed to be sufficient consideration for payments of prescribed monthly fee.
section vi financial bid
All payments of salaries, leave, Bonus, EPF, ESI Contribution for the labourers engaged by the contractor for the execution of the tender work and all other liabilities imposed by the Minimum Wages Act , Contract Labour (R & A) Act 1970, and the EPF and ESI organizations wherever applicable will be the sole responsibility of the contractor. The guidelines as per the Bonus amendment Act 2015 should be followed. The payment of Bonus to the labourers engaged in this contract will be the responsibility of the tenderer and it will not be reimbursed by BSNL.
                                                                                               (sd  AGM MM Tender  o/o PGM CBT)


Office of the PGM, BSNL,Trichy–620001 PGM/S8/WT/Supply of Man power assistance /Zone III/PDK,AYL&PAU/2019-20/1 dt at Trichy the 09.07.2019
Every Labours eligible to get one day paid OFF if he/she has worked continuously for six days without any break. Apart from the weekly paid off he/she will be eligible to avail three paid National Holidays if he/she continuously worked in the particular week of NH falls. The wages daily paid include the wage component for the weekly off also and hence no separate wage will be paid for weekly off. A festive holiday is offered at the discretion of management.
15.1.E-Payment: - Contractor’s bill payment shall be made through E- payment to concerned contractor’s bank account no. for which a consent letter with other details given in Annexure-I should be filled in and signed by the Tenderer.
15.3. The bills shall be submitted in the printed format with the bill numbers running in sequence. 15.4. PAN number should be furnished in the bill. 15.5.GST registration details shall be available in the Bill. 15.6. EPF/UAN registration details/remittance details in respect of each of the Manpower/Housekeeping unit employed by the contractors. 15.7.Certificate regarding work done, pass order, countersignature of the officer concerned should be made available in the back side of the bill, leaving half of the page for GM Office use, for furnishing pass order, pay order etc
18.5FAIR WAGES CLAUSE: The Contractor(s) shall pay wages not less than the fair wage to the labourers engaged by him/them for the work as per minimum wages Act. Explanation: (a)'Fair Wage' means wage whether for time or place of work fixed by Law or otherwise notified at the time of inviting tenders for the work and with such wages prescribed by the CLC/District Collector whichever is higher for the District in which the work is done
18.11 A labour is performing 8 hours minimum duty per day for six days in a week only eligible for weekly off as in clause 21.10. Part time duty performer will not be eligible for weekly/off.
19. MODE OF PAYMENT TO THE AGENCY: The bills raised on “General Manager, BSNL, Trichy” should be submitted in Duplicate (Separate Bills for Each Zone) every month with an Advance stamped Receipt along with proof of payment of wages, EPF and ESI for the month for which bill is raised by the agency to The AGM (NWP-CFA), O/o General Manager, BSNL, Trichy-1 with necessary certificates from concerned Unit Officer for processing the payment by cheque
The payment to the agency will be made on the basis of actual number of manpower supplied each day and computed on monthly basis. The bills in order will be processed and payment will be done normally within 6weeks from the date of receipt of the bills. However the contractor ought to make the payment to the labourers on or before 7th of every month without waiting for clearance of the bill.
g) Minimum wages applicable and as fixed by the concerned authority should be arranged to be paid with pay slips (Pay slips should contain the amount of EPF/ESI amount deducted and EPF Numbers-UAN/ESI Nos) periodically to the persons engaged by the agency not later than the 7th of every month.
j)The successful Tenderer shall pay the Bonus to the contract labours as per the Bonus Act or applicable rate in force /any amendments to be made from time to time as per GOI guide lines. The Bonus amount should be paid to the representative before DIWALI every year. In case, the Tenderer fails to adhere to the same, BSNL is entitled to pay and recover the amount payable to the Tenderer
k) The Tenderer should pay the wages to the labour on or before 7tth of each month for the previous month wages without waiting for settlement of his any bill from BSNL. l) The contractor shall be responsible for maintaining of the following register/records required to be maintained under various labour laws. 1) Register of Attendance/ Muster Roll 2) Register of Wages 3) Register of Fines 4) Register of Wage slips 5) Register of leaves/Absentees 6) Issue of company ID card of the contractor company
n) The Contractor shall ensure to meet their obligations arising out of the employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1952 by making regular deductions of employee’s contribution and payment of both employee’s and employer’s contribution for the persons engaged by them to the office of the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Tiruchirappalli only. A copy of the challan showing deposit of the monthly contribution along with list of labourers to whom payment is made shall invariably be provided to the principal employer. It is the responsibility of the Contractor to obtain annual EPF Balance Sheet and distribute them among all the persons engaged by them under proper acquaintance under intimation to Asst .General Manager, (NWP/CFA)/AGM (HR & Admin), O/o G.M, BSNL, TRICHY-1 not later than the month of May of every year
o) The successful Tenderer while submitting the Bill, the following details is to be enclosed along with the bill. i) List showing the details of persons engaged. ii) Duration of their engagement. iii) The amount of wages paid to such persons for the duration in question. (Wage Slip) iv) Amount of EPF contribution (Both employer’s & employees’ contribution) along with the current EPF/UAN number of each labour for the duration of engagement in question, paid to the EPF Authorities.( Mention the amount separately for each category)
21 (ii) The attested copy of EPF payment of previous month along with details duly mentioning their names and amount paid for each separate for employer share and employee’s share.
 (iii) The Xerox copy of code numbers allotted by the respective EPF to the labours engaged by the successful bidder should be submitted. The original code numbers issued by the respective organization ie. EPF should be submitted to this office for verification. Further any additional units engaged by the successful bidder in the course of the contract, the code numbers should invariably be obtained from the respective organization and the same should be submitted to this office within fifteen days from the date of engagement.
 (iv) The contractor should also ensure – credit of EPF payments to the respective employee’s every month. Only on receipt of the statement, the bill for the earlier month work will be processed for payment…..The contractor should furnish statement to each official their up to date credit before 25th of April, July, October and January after confirming from EPF organization.

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