Wednesday, March 2, 2016

[Protest Rally Tomorrow] Fight Against Caste Based Discrimination And Contractualization in Delhi University

- Delhi University Theka Mazdoor Manch (DUTMM)

Support the struggle of contract workers against illegal removal and casteist practices at U-G Hostels for Girls!

On 3rd March,2016, 2:30 PM
Arts Faculty (Rally towards VC Office)

For over the last two months, ten contract workers (mostly dalit and women) of the Undergraduate Hostel for Girls (Dhaka Complex) of Delhi University with the Delhi University ThekaMazdoorManch (DUTMM) have been sitting outside the hostel gates demanding a dignified workplace and equal pay for equal work. Their contract with Sulabh International (subcontracted by Delhi University) has been illegally terminated. The workers who have been targeted and removed from their posts as safaikaramcharis (sanitation workers) also hold complaints of caste atrocities and unfair labour practices against the hostel authorities. The University as the Principal employer of security and sanitation services runs a long history in dealing with such issues by blatant targeting and removal of workers with the help of contractors. We at DUTMM- a collective of teachers, students and workers,has engaged over series of such instances in the last few years at the University.

The University of Delhi as an institution employs large number of workers who engage in a range of work from sanitation, security, mess, canteens, libraries, labs, administrative services etc. However, University completely abdicates itself from any responsibility towards these workers. University deprives them of even the basic legal rights by recruiting third party agencies/contractors for work that is perennial in nature, which by law demands sanctioned posts and permanent employment. The University-Contractor nexus is not only exploitative but also opens a huge arena of corruption. Hostel authorities force contract workers to work in their residences in addition to regular work. Three different kinds of wages are paid for the same kind of work. Workers work for the University for decades with no official documents. It is appalling that even minimal legal requirements such as minimum wages, ESI identity and health cards, Provident Fund benefits and dignified treatment have been denied to workers in this university. Contract workers currently work under constant threat of dismissal, victimisation and harassment. The University of Delhi has no mechanism to deal with such unfair and illegal labour practices that also perpetuate caste atrocities.

With over half of the workforce at the University being contractualized, workers are subject to precarious conditions and insecurity. The University gives full time labour contracts to “voluntary” social organizations like Sulabh International, who give “honorarium” for social work and not wages for labour. Hundreds of sanitation workers employed by the University through Sulabh International are forced to do what is legally identified as bonded labour. The University ,yet hires such agencies that have no respect for law. Sulabh International claims of doing social service by bringing dalits to the mainstream by complementing the University’s project of privatisation and paying the workers far below their minimum wage.

Manual scavenging has been witnessed at the University in many instances. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the workers are Dalits, Women and from other marginalized sections. Death of a dalit cannot be the only time we recognize institutionalised violence, casteism and patriarchy in the university. We urge permanent workers, teachers and students to stand in solidarity with these contract workers who are fighting this institutionalized injustice. Let us raise our united voice clearly and loudly against the illegal, unfair and casteistlabour practices in Delhi University.

We demand:

1. Reinstate all Dalit contract workers at UGHG immediately.

2. Set up an Inquiry Committee to look into unfair labour practices and rampant caste atrocities in UGHG with fair representation on its board, given that most of the workers are Dalit, Women’s and from other marginalized sections. Until the inquiry committee submits its report, the hostel authorities must step down from their positions so that workers get immediate relief at the work place.

3. Compensate all workers for the loss of wages. Pending wages of over last three years must be paid to them with interest.

4. Implement equal pay for equal work and offer ESI and PF facilities to all contract workers across the University.

5. Regularise all the contract workers who are working for more than six months, employed directly or through any agency and do away with sham contracts.

6. Institute a complaints and redressal mechanism for all workers at the University level.

7. Guidelines for Fair Labour Practices must be immediately enforced by the University.

Delhi University Theka Mazdoor Manch (DUTMM), Delhi University & Colleges SC/ST Employees Welfare Association, Democratic Karmachari Front (DKF), New Socialist Initiative (NSI), Pinjratod, Saamajik Nyaya Morcha


Post a Comment