Published: 06th April 2021
No salary for four months: JNU sanitation workers protest, mess workers called in for "recovery" of lost work hours
The JNU administration had paid for a month's salary after they had protested during the lockdown, but the workers said that their salary had been deducted
The sanitation workers of the Jawaharlal Nehru University's Central Library have been on strike for the past 20 days. They claim that they have not been paid salary for the past four months and not only that, they've also been called back to "recover" the work hours lost during the pandemic. The workers organised a Mazdoor Adhikar March (Workers' Rights March) on April 5 from schools to the hostels and demanded equal pay for equal work.
They said that the other casual workers have not been paid their salary as well and if they don't get paid by April 7, they will intensify the protest and other workers would join them as well.
The JNU administration had paid for a month's salary after they had protested during the lockdown, but the workers said that their salary had been deducted or they have been called back to work for the 'recovery' of the lost work hours. "We have not been paid for the past four months. The mess workers who were working during the lockdown were asked to join back for the recovery of the work hours lost during the lockdown," said Urmila Chahaan, All India General Kaamgar Union's President. "We have written a letter to the administration and during the early days of our protest, presented it to the Labour Office at JNU. They sent a labour inspector, but he was promoted soon after he reported supporting the workers in March. If we do not receive our salaries by April 7, the sanitation workers and the garbage collectors will join hands to intensify the protest," she said and added that even though none of the casual workers are being paid, they have been threatened not to raise their voice.
The workers said that they have been threatened by the administration when they were on strike but their voice remained unheard. The JNU Teachers' Association had come forth to help the workers with some dry ration last week, but the administration has allegedly not taken any step in this matter. Some professors also questioned why the university has been spending 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 workers," said a senior professor on the condition of anonymity.
We tried reaching out to the administration, they haven't responded yet. This copy will be updated if/when they respond.