New Delhi: Unpaid for their hard labour for the last two months, contractual workers of Jamia Islamia University (JMI) held a protest last week demanding that the administration immediately release pending salaries. In addition, the workers also demanded basic rights, such as provident fund (PF), Employees' State Insurance benefits (ESI) among others. The workers said they would take the protest route if their demands are not met soon.
Recently, contractual workers in the dining hall said they raised the issue of pending salaries before the provost of a hostel, who said he would look into the matter and talk to the Registrar.
Speaking to Newsclick, a dining hall worker who did not wish to be named, said, "The university administration had prepared a schedule in 2016-17 that our attendance till the 25th of every month will be considered and we will get our salaries on the 5th of every month. But we never get our salaries on time. Generally, we receive our salaries between the15-20th of every month."
The worker also claimed that getting leave was a problem, even festivals like Eid and Bakri-Eid. “We do not how much money is deducted for ESI and PF”, he added.
Surprisingly, the contractual workers in the dining hall were not aware of the Delhi government’s order on minimum wage. According to the Delhi government rule implemented in 2018, unskilled workers are supposed to get Rs 14,000/month. “But we get Rs 12,000 or sometimes even less,” the worker claimed, adding that they do skilled
work but were not even getting wages of unskilled workers.
The worker said they were put on the job by a contractor from Bengal named Tarun Mandal, “who does not have an office in Delhi.” “He visits only the Registrar’s office and leaves, and never bothers to meet us or know our problems,” he added.
Sanitary workers cited similar problem with salaries. A sanitary worker told Newsclick:"We received the salary for January on February 20. We never get salaries on time and when we ask the contractor, he says the university does not have enough funds.” He, too, blamed Mandal for skirting the issue and feigning ignorance about minimum wages in Delhi.
Current Minimum Wage Rate
According to Delhi government’s new slabs for minimum wages of contractual workers, an unskilled worker is entitled to a minimum wage of Rs14,842 per month, a semi-skilled worker Rs 16,341 and a skilled worker Rs17,991/month. If implemented, likely by February next year, it would benefit about 5.5 million contract workers in the city. The amended Bill ensures that the workers whether unskilled, semi-skilled or skilled get paid full wages by their employers or else the employer suffers strict punishment including the jail term.
BREAKING NEWS 👉🏼 Delhi Govt's Amendment to Minimum Wages Act, with provision of imprisonment and a fine of Rs.20,000 on employers for not paying minimum wages gets the President's assent. pic.twitter.com/ad7khcKdQo
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) May 8, 2018
When Newsclick approached Jamia’s Public Relation Officer (PRO), Azeem Ahmed, he said he would will talk to the Registrar as he was not aware of this issue since it was not related to “academics”. Attempts by Newsclick to contact Iqbal, the provost of campus A Hostel, were futile as his mobile phone was not reachable.
Read Also : Jamia Students Call Off Protest Over Sexual Harassment By Professor