- Statement by Delhi University Theka Mazdoor Manch (DUTMM), 4th March, 2015
On the evening of the 3rd of March, 2015, house-keeping & sanitation workers and security guards of UGHG (Under-graduate Hostel for Girls) Dhaka Hostel Complex informed DUTMM (Delhi University Theka Mazdoor Manch) about the sudden removal of 16 security guards under Knight Watch Agency. The Section Officer had been asked by the hostel authorities to convey the immediate dismissal of the security guards to the supervisor. DUTMM along with the workers reached the hostel premises early this morning in protest against this unjust decision of the hostel authorities. There was no written notice of the removal. And we also found out that the field officer of Knight Watch Agency had no complaints against any of the workers. After hours of protest at UGHG along with student residents of the hostel, the Provost Prof. Rita Kakkar finally agreed to meet representatives of DUTMM.
The charges of the removal of 16 security guards (of which one had to be retained for about 2 weeks to train new guards) was dismissed by the Provost constantly as a case of 'miscommunication'.
Finally, under pressure from the protest, the Provost conceded to sign a tripartite agreement letter. The signatories to the agreement letter were representative of DUTMM, Provost and Resident Tutor, and Student Representatives of the hostel. However, the Provost, even after signing the agreement letter, repeatedly reiterated the management committees informal discussions about rotating/shifting workers periodically so that the workers do not familiarise themselves to their workplace and start unionising.
It was agreed upon by all signatories that:
1. A representative committee constituted by hostel authorities, office staff, security guards, safai karmacharis, mess workers and students in order to redress grievance and complaints.
2. The safai karamcharis currently employed in hostel be retained on renewal of contract or contracting of new contractor.
3. The information of removal of 15 security guards was an instance of misinformation from the office.
4. A Students' Union be instituted in the hostel at the earliest on an urgent basis after a meeting with the students.
5. Minimum wages and ESI and PF be ensured to all workers in the hostel.
6. A letter will be written to the University in order to ensure payments of back wages and arrears of workers employed in the hostel being paid wages below minimum wages.
Down with contractualisation of work!! Long live workers-students-teachers solidarity!!