NEW DELHI: In a huge relief to lakhs of contractual employees, the railways has decided to release their full salaries even as it suspended all its passenger services till March 31.

In an order issued on Tuesday, the railways has said that due to prevailing coronavirus situation in India and the stoppage of trains, several contractual staff engaged in on-board housekeeping service, sanitation, pantry car and commercial activities have been stranded and have to compulsorily stay at other places, while others have to be in readiness to attend the duties at a short notice.

“In order to reduce the hardship being faced by these workers, (Railway) Board has decided to treat the employees of private establishments (including temporary, contractual, outsourced) engaged in providing services in trains, stations and offices, directly affected with suspension of services and lockdown situations, as on duty and be paid accordingly till the expiry of suspension of services/lockdown or as advised by the central government in this regard,” according to an order.

“Maximum payment which may be made shall be limited to 70 per cent of the contract value for contracts awarded on lump sum basis,” the order stated.

An official clarified that in any contract, the major component is labour. “Hence, to pay labour 100 per cent salaries, it has been kept at 70 per cent of total contract value. It is clarified, in this time no material is being consumed as trains are not functioning,” the official said.

The Railway Board has also advised zones to ensure that these employees are not retrenched due to this suspension of services /lockdown and are paid in the manner prescribed.

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