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WB: 39 Contract Workers of Millennium Park Re-hired After CITU Protests

The long-term contractual employees at the park were released from their duties when the KMDA handed over control of the property to KMC.
millenium park contractual workers working

Millenium park contractual workers working.

Thirty-nine contract workers at Millennium Park abruptly lost their jobs on December 23. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) took over the operation of the Millennium Park from the Kolkata Municipal Development Authority (KMDA) at the Chief Minister's request. 

The long-term contractual employees at the park were released from their duties when the KMDA handed over control of the property. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation, on the other hand, assumed responsibility for the park but not the park employees. 39 contract workers lost their jobs as a result.

After the Centre of Indian Trade Unions' (CITU) long struggle, those 39 contract workers got back to work after five months. All 39 long-time gardeners, security guards, and cleaners have returned to work at Millennium Park on the banks of the Ganga. 

The CITU-affiliated Kolkata Contractors Workers Union joined the fight in December, demanding that the KMC employ the workers who lost their jobs.

In this context, Soumyajit Rajak, one of the leaders of the CITU-affiliated union, said, "Within a year, we won two important parts of the struggle under the leadership of our union- Recovery of 21-month salary arrears of Calcutta University contractual workers and the protection of the livelihood of Millennium Park contract workers. These two successes will inspire contractual workers in other sectors to unionise and agitate."

"The organisation of permanent employees in the case of Calcutta University and the union leadership of the permanent workers in the case of the corporation have helped the contract workers' struggle at every level and can be emulated elsewhere. From the experience of this struggle, there is much to be gleaned for the future," Rajak further said.

Rajak highlighted how contractual workers from other state government departments have contacted the union after seeing the success of their struggle. 

"We will start a movement with their demands in the coming days."

It is to be noted that since the loss of work on December 23 last year, the contract workers have started the movement under the leadership of CITU. One of their main demands was that even if the park ownership is transferred, the contract workers who have been working for a long time should not be retrenched. Keeping this demand in mind, CITU continued its continuous movement.

M park contractual workers

M park contractual workers

After repeatedly submitting demands to the Corporation and KMDA authorities, discussions were held with the Mayoral Council (Parks) and the Municipal Commissioner as well. 

From the very beginning, the leadership of the CITU-affiliated union of the permanent workers of the corporation gave full cooperation. 

Union leaders also raised the demands of the workers who lost their jobs at Millennium Park in the larger protest programme of the contract workers during the budget session of the Kolkata Corporation on March 20.

On May 30 and 31, 39 contract workers at the park were hired under the new agency and got their jobs back. 

Kolkata Contractors Workers' Union General Secretary Khokon Majumder congratulated the workers for fighting hard for the leadership of the union despite the hardship of raising their families without any income for five long months.

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