Calcutta, May 17: For the third time in three months, the government has decided to extend the last date for Great Eastern Hotel employees to submit their early retirement scheme forms.
Tourism secretary T.K. Barman today said at Writers’ Buildings: “We have decided to extend the deadline for picking up and submitting the ERS forms. The process will finally close on June 30.”
The announcement means good news for 375 permanent and 44 temporary employees of the 165-year-old hotel, most of whom have not dared to collect the forms for fear of offending the unions.
In all, 20 employees have picked up the forms and a dozen have submitted them. The employees will continue to get their salary till the hotel is handed over to a private company picked to run it.
The government first offered the ERS between February 25 and March 26. Then a decision was taken to open the scheme afresh ' between April 6 and April 18. The date was extended a second time from April 19 and is scheduled to close tomorrow. Today’s announcement means that the scheme will be open till June 30.
“This is the last time we are extending the date. After this, there can be no reason to do so. Neither is it practically possible,” Barman said.
The third extension followed a request from Intuc. The union had asked commerce and industries minister Nirupam Sen to extend the deadline as its leaders wanted another round of talks after the civic polls were over. Barman said: “The union wrote to the minister that its earlier talks had been positive and it intended to meet him again, but the leaders would be busy till May 18. That is why the request for an extension of the deadline.”
The government had earlier promised to consider some of the unions’ demands.