Rising inflation and trifling nominal wage had weighed heavily upon roadside workers. Now that the Finance Ministry has announced the wage rates for the National Workforce, the Department of Surface Transport’s workers in Zhemgang hope that it will alleviate their financial burdens to some extent. Although the roadside workers have yet to receive their revised wages, they are already rejoicing at the prospect of a better living standard.
Dil Kumar Mongar from Sarpang has been working as an employee of the Department of Surface Transport in Zhemgang for the last 20 years. When he first started working, he earned only Nu 3,000 a month. After a pay raise in 2015, his salary increased to Nu 6,450. However, as his salary increased, so did his expenses largely due to inflation.
The 37-year-old has three children. He said with his salary stagnated at Nu 6,450 for almost a decade, he could not afford to send two of his children to college after class twelve.
Dil Kumar Mongar said, “Our salary is too low and it was not enough to meet our expenses because the price for all the essential commodities soared. We struggle to run our families with the current wage. But now, we will get a raise finally and we are happy.”
The Ministry of Finance announced the revision of the National Workforce wage rates last month. With the revised rate, the workers will be paid between Nu 12,000 to 18,000.
Before the revision, they were paid between Nu 6,450 and 9,720.
“With the increase in our daily wages, some of our friends who had left this job are also planning to come back and join us. We are very happy. We used to struggle a lot. It was difficult even to manage our children’s school expenses sometimes,” said Mon Bdr Rana Mongar, an employee with the Department of Surface Transport.
“We had a hard time managing our children’s educational expenses with the salary we used to get. Now I am pretty sure that the revised pay will help us. I am overjoyed and happy with the wage revision this time,” said Bim Bdr Rai, an employee with the Department of Surface Transport.
Meanwhile, the Department of Surface Transport’s regional office in Tingtibi is hoping that the revision will attract more people to join the department as roadside workers.
There are only 118 workers today while the regional office actually requires 140 workers. The office said, 22 workers left the job within the last five years.
Pema Samdrup, BBS, Zhemgang
Edited by Sangay Chezom