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What It Means To Be A Contract Worker Six Months Work Without Payment

Contract workers had been working in the campus for four years under Chaitanya and Suvidha cooperative societies till 15th September 2011. According to new Tender Eligibility Criterion these cooperative societies were not qualified (due to unreasonable Monetary Security Deposit requirement) and tender was awarded to a new Contractor and legally he is Contractor from 15th September 2011. The workers of Suvidha then, shifted under New Contractor without delay whereas the workers of Chaitanya society did not want to work under new Contractor but continue to work in their respective work places like different schools and various hostels. This impasse continued till January 6th of 2012. The contract workers went on a protest on 6th January 2012 due to non-payment of salary and confusion regarding their status as official contract workers. The University registrar, along with other officials, assured the workers about their job security. It is mentioned in the Labour Law that the contractor may change but not the workers. It is interesting to note that, no proper attendance register was maintained even after 6th January 2012 until CITU and SFI intervened and expressed concern over the reliability of the contractor. We met the registrar and had an hour discussion and told him that we are suspecting that the contractor might forged the attendance register and produce some bogus attendance of non-existing workers in place of the real workers. Therefore, we demanded the University administration to give the gate passes to all the workers so that the security itself would give attendance to those who enter the main gate. This gave some job security to the workers as the contractor cannot bring his own workers in order to stop the on-going workers. This is what has happened so far. Gate Pass was secured due to our intervention and it was a step forward in our movement. Next demand was to release the salary of the workers. The workers have not received salary for the labour they have been putting to clean the campus since 15th September 2011. We can understand the plight of the workers who are not paid for their work for six months. We know how badly a government employee suffers if s/he receives salary late even by a day. The same is applied to the students fellowship. Then, how much sufferings must a contract worker be experiencing if s/he has not received a single penny for last six months? So, on February 29th of 2012 all the contract workers in support with a few students rallied to the administration building demanding their salaries to be released immediately. Police Force was brought by the University authorities to bully the workers and students. Police brutally humiliated workers and threatened about their job on the other hand students were threatened about the cancellation of registration. But, neither the workers nor the students were afraid rather they were ready to face any sufferings and humiliations for the salaries. Then the University authorities stepped down and assured that salaries would be released by 12th March 2012. The protest was called off by the workers in illusion that they would get salary for the period of six months that is since

15th September 2011. But, the workers came to know in a casual discussion with the contractor that they were going to get their salaries only for the period between 6th January and 6th March 2012. So they contacted us immediately. We arranged a general body of all the contract workers on two consecutive days that are 9 th and 10th of March 2012 and discussed all the issues. We called the contractor himself to the meeting on 10 th where he, while answering the workers, revealed that he could not pay as of now for the period between 15th September 2011 and January 6th 2012. The reason he put forward was that all the things during this period were messed up that is why it would take some more time to sort out the things. He had tendered for just a 133 member work force and for the three months period mentioned above, his own work force was around 90 and the rest was 94(Chaitanya society workers who were continuing independently). This is contractors version. But, our doubt is that how come he deployed 90 more workers along with the continuing 94 workers? We had a doubt over his number from the beginning and it was one of the reasons we had suggested the University to issue gate passes. In fact, we had even asked the registrar to assemble all the workers the contractor had brought by his own. But the registrar himself raided few schools instead of asking the contractor to assemble his own work force in order to count the number apart from the continuing 94 members. Coming back to General Body, the majority of the workers came to a conclusion to accept salary for two months as of now and decided to struggle for salary for rest of the period after a prolonged discussion. So, all the workers are going to get salary for two months on 12th March. But, we have to fight for the salaries for the period between 15 th September 2011 and 6th January 2012. The contractor is saying he would receive money for only 133 workers but the number of workers who worked was 184. However, we have serious doubts over the number claimed by contractor. Truth would be known only after a thorough enquiry. Till then, we shall be struggling to get the workers full justice. In this regard CITU appeals to the whole University community (teaching and non-teaching staff and students) to stand in support with the workers.

Our Struggle for Contract Workers Rights Long Live !!!!!!! Students workers Unity Long Live !!!!!!!!!

Centre of Indian Trade Unions

(CITU)