The sanitation workers of the JNU Central Library have been on strike for the last 20 days. They allege that they have not been paid a salary for the past four months. Besides, they’ve also been called back to “recover” the work hours lost during the pandemic. The workers coordinated Mazdoor Adhikar March (Workers’ Rights March) on April 5 from schools to the hostels and demanded equal pay for equal work.
According to the JNU sanitation workers, if they don’t get paid by April 7, they will heighten the protest and other workers would collaborate with them as well.
Earlier, the JNU administration had paid for a month’s salary after they had protested during the lockdown, but the laborers said that their salary had been reduced or they have been called back to work for the ‘recovery of the lost work hours.
The mess workers who were working during the lockdown were asked to come back for the healing of the work hours lost during the lockdown, said Urmila Chahaan, All India General Kaamgar Union’s President.
We have jotted down a letter to the administration and during the early days of our protest, presented it to the Labour Office at JNU. They sent a labor inspector, but he was promoted soon after he reported assisting the workers in March. If we do not collect our salaries by April 7, the sanitation workers and the garbage collectors will come together to expand the protest, she said and added that even though none of the casual workers are being paid, they have been compelled not to raise their voice.
The JNU Teachers’ Association had come forward to support the workers with some dry ration last week, but the administration has allegedly not taken any notch in this matter. Some professors also doubted why the university has been expending huge amounts on various things but could not pay salaries. The inauguration ceremony for the Swami Vivekananda statue cost almost Rs 10 lakhs. But they don’t have money to pay the employees, said a senior professor on the condition of anonymity.
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