HEC bans staff from using smart phones within company premises
Ranchi headquartered Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC), one of the earliest PSUs to be set up in the country, has announced a ban on smart phones within the company premises from September 30 for all employees, the decision being greeted with scepticism by staff and the workers' union.
HEC’s manager of personnel and administration Prashant Kumar has issued a circular. “In order to ensure safety and security of the employees and the documents/processes and to avoid distraction in the production activities, it has been decided by the company management to prohibit use of smart phones inside HEC premises with effect from September 30, 2021 till further orders," it said.
Employees, however, will be able to carry basic, non-camera phones for work.
The circular applies to category of workers, from regular employees to those on contract and trainees. “As such, use of smart phone/camera at workplace will be treated as an act of misconduct with effect from the date of enforcement of the rule,” the circular said, adding that the board of directors, chief vigilance officer, general managers, in-charges of shops, departments and divisions were however exempt from the rule.
HEC has around 4,000 employees. A section of the staff felt the no-smart phone order was linked to the September 13 visit to Ranchi of secretary of the Union ministry of heavy industries Arun Goel. Sources said the secretary was visibly upset to see staff members using smart phones in key workshop areas and other departments of the company.
But a senior official denied it had anything to do with Goel's visit. “The decision to ban smart phones was taken much before but it’s just that the order has been issued now," he claimed.
HEC Hatia Project Workers' Union secretary Rana Sangram Singh dubbed the smart phone ban as "mindless". "Phones without cameras are almost out of market today. We will appeal to the management to reconsider the decision,” he said.
HEC is reeling under serious fiscal stress. It has work orders to the tune of about Rs 2000 crore from the defence ministry and ISRO, among others. However, salaries of a majority of employees have been delayed for over five months.