After working for 12-hour shifts for the past fortnight to put more cash into circulation, some of the employees began complaining of lower back pain, disturbed sleep and overall physical and mental stress.
As a result of the 12-hour shifts, instead of the usual nine-hour ones, the press was printing 46 million currency notes per day. But with three shifts from Wednesday, the number of notes they are printing are set to go down to 40 million.
“We entered an agreement with the management on December 14 for working on 12-hour shifts for two weeks. The agreement ended on December 27 and we have refused to continue with it,” a member of Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited (BRBNMPL) Employees’ Association told HT on condition of anonymity.
The Salboni press is one of the two currency printing presses under the Reserve Bank of India.
“It is solely the health impact of continuously working for long hours that forced us to switch to normal shift hours,” an employee said.
The machines remain idle during shift change. “When the day is broken up into more shifts, the machine remains idle for more time between the shifts, and that’s the reason for lower production. In a bid to increase production, RBI had asked the press management to reduce shifts (and thereby increase production),” a source told HT.
From Wednesday the press has switched to two nine-hour and one six-hour shift.
Despite repeated attempts, S Thalikerappa, general manager of the press, could not be contacted. An RBI spokesperson refused to divulge information even on the denominations printed here.
The employees HT managed to contact, however, said they were not forced to work overtime, and were being paid wages for extra hours put in.