Despite the lockdown and months of unpaid salary, JNU's sanitation workers continue work

Various student political organisations have now distributed safety gear and ration to the sanitation workers of JNU
Image for representational purpose only
Image for representational purpose only

It has been more than a month since India went under a complete lockdown. Weeks before that, the COVID-19 hit India and many had started social distancing. Amid this global crisis, the sanitation workers of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) went to work, every day, despite not being paid a penny, says the university's Students' Union — JNUSU.

A month back, Edex had reported about the plight of the workers, who had not received their salaries since December 2019. The JNUSU says that the workers' salaries are yet to be paid and all of them come to work to the university defying the lockdown norms. Even though a large number of JNU students vacated the hostels and went back home, a lot of them stayed back at the hostels. "These workers maintain the rooms clean for them every day," says JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh.

The Students' Union has now released a set of testimonials from the workers where they describe their daily lives. The students also started a campaign on the International Labour's Day with a #PayWagesofJNUWorkers. "The workers are scared to organise themselves because the JNU administration often threatens to throw them out. They must stop this apartheid towards the workers," says Aishe.

The students had previously alleged that the workers do not have access to any safety gear. However, a few days ago, the student political organisation BASO distributed masks and sanitisers to them. "The SFI has also started an initiative through which we are distributing ration to these labourers. This is the least we can do," says Aishe.

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