After ending services of 500 contractual workers, railway says order on hold

The railways’ catering and tourism arm, IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation), said on Tuesday it has decided to put on hold its order to terminate the services of over 500 contractual workers days after it terminated their contracts.

“Decision has now been taken to keep in abeyance the notice for the termination of the contract,” an IRCTC spokesperson said. “They had only been served a notice and not been removed yet,” he added.

In a letter to all railway zones dated June 25, a copy of which has been reviewed by Hindustan Times, IRCTC 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. The IRCTC hired around 560 supervisors for hospitality in 2018.

The decision to end the contracts is currently under reconsideration by the IRCTC board.

Several former contractual employees who were handed the termination letter took to social media to seek intervention by railway minister Piyush Goyal.

Hospitality supervisors work to monitor the operations of the pantry car on trains and their work includes monitoring, the preparation of food and its quality inspection, handling passengers and their complaints.

Regular passenger train services have been suspended since March 22 when the first phase of the lockdown was announced. At present, only 230 special passenger trains are operating.

Around 560 supervisors (hospitality) were hired by the IRCTC in 2018 on contractual basis for a period of two years to maintain a quality check on contractors assigned to cater food in trains equipped with pantries.

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