Reinstate Suspended Workers, Ensure Minimum Wages in NLU: Delhi Govt
Image Courtesy: The Caravan Magazine
The Delhi government, in a closed-door meeting with the stakeholders, instructed the officials of the National Law University to reinstate 55 sanitation workers who were suspended--after the university hired a new service provider--and renegotiate the terms of the tender which must not violate the minimum wage standards, NewsClick has learned. The sanitation workers have been on strike for more than 70 days after their services were arbitrarily suspended without any compensation.
Anil Ghildiyal, Officer on Special Duty, after meeting the representatives from the workers, students and university officials, told the officials to renegotiate the terms of the tender with the new service provider Rajender Management Group or float a new tender if the service provider fails to reinstate the workers.
Ekta Tomar, a student of BA LLB Hons., who attended the meeting, said that the university officials accepted that the tender originally floated by it had serious flaws as it did not maintain the minimum wage for the workers. She said that the RMG group had quoted its bid at 7.9 lakhs for 71 workers. In other words, the company would pay Rs 11,126 per worker--lower than the minimum wage in Delhi. After the revision in October last year, the Delhi government had increased the minimum wages of unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workers to Rs 14,842, Rs 16,341 and Rs 17,991 respectively.
Another student, Vidushi Prajapati, told NewsClick that the university has been given time to renegotiate the terms and if it fails to reach any conclusion, it would terminate the contract as it previously did in Ambedkar University. The students have maintained that the university, which is ironically teaching the law of the land, is itself breaching the labour laws with impunity. Citing the rules, the students said that the university and the new agency did, "no prior assessment of manpower requirement complying Delhi Govt. Notification F-4/20/08/AR/921-1080/C dated 16.01.2009 done by NLUD administration", which mandates that the workers’ strength should not be reduced by more than 20%.
They further emphasised that the university entered an illegal contract with the new vendor, Rajendra Management Group, by reducing the existing strength of workers by more than 20%. A summary observation of economic status of the workers suggests that 76% of the workforce consists of sole breadwinners of their families. Similarly, more than 60% workers live in rented accommodations.
The movement for reinstating the workers saw unprecedented support from the students. The students argued that the sanitation workers worked for 12 years and deserved recognition for their work. The students’ collective said, “It is important to note that they have devoted a substantial portion of their lifetime in building and maintaining this institution. By virtue of their hard work and dedication, NLUD was ranked 3rd in MHRD’s Cleanliness Award given to higher educational institutions in the country."
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