Termination of 150 Sanitation Workers in DU: Open Letter to DU Vice Chancellor

Termination of 150 Sanitation Workers in DU: Open Letter to DU Vice Chancellor

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Sanitation Workers Movement, DU started this petition to Vice Chancellor, DU and

Dear Vice Chancellor, 

You must be very well aware of the recent over night termination of over 150 Safai Karamcharis from their jobs. The cruel irony of laying off such a large number of workers on May 1st, International Worker's Day is not lost on us. The termination was following the expiry of the tender of previous contractor,  Sulabh International which had hired workers on a contractual basis. NexGen Manpower Services Pvt Ltd is the new contractor and has laid off over 150 workers without any explanation or prior notice. And this includes 35 workers who had filed a case in the labour court against Sulabh International for non payment of fair wages, ESI and PF and against Delhi administration for regularisation of work. NexGen was given the tender on March 31st but the workers were not given any intimation from the University or Sulabh International regarding the termination of Sulabh's contract.

The terminated workers had been employed in Delhi University for the last 3 to 15 years and have been systematically exploited and harassed by the contractor and the University under your watch. Besides being denied fair wages and other benefits, women workers have been harassed by bouncers of Sulabh International openly with complete impunity provided by the University. The University has been constantly washing its hands off the entire affair saying that it has no say in the hiring policies of the contractor. However, we would like to remind you that the University remains the Principal Employer and is responsible for ensuring the legal rights of the workers. After the protest demanding their reinstatement on May 1st, some workers were tactfully taken back by the company. However, a large number of them refused to go back to work until all the other terminated workers are reinstated.

It needs to be noted that those workers who have been vocal about their conditions of work and pay have especially been targetted. Upon being asked, the Assistant Registrar stated that firing workers every two years has been the policy of the DU administration. This is to ensure that workers do not organize amongst themselves against their oppressive conditions of work be it sanitation workers, library staff, security gaurds or faculty members. If you ever happen to step into the university premises, you wouldn't have failed to notice the relentless protests of lworkers, teachers and students with demands ranging from permanent and stable jobs, end to privatisation of university and discriminatory rules, end of mass failures and so on. The workers have organized multiple protests and a day long hunger strike so far but there has been absolutely no response from the side of the administration yet.

Why had DU given out the tender for sanitation work to Sulabh International, a self proclaimed NGO, which uses rhetorics of 'seva' to make profits out of underpaying wages and depriving workers of ESI and PF? Why does DU, despite being the Principal Employer of workers refuse to even give verbal assurances of looking into such arbitary practices by NexGen? Why are workers who have worked for as long as 10-15 years being kept on a contractual basis? What about their job security, social security, bonus and pension? Why is it that only 150 out of 250 posts of sanitation workers are filled and 150 workers made to do the work for unfulfilled posts without extra pay? Why is DU which is a UGC funded Central University outsourcing sanitation work to private companies that are driven by profit motives, exploit workers to fill their pockets?

As students, workers and teachers of this university we demand answers to these questions! We demand that ALL terminated workers be reinstated, that they be paid PF and ESI for the entire duration of their employment and be given permanent jobs in this university!

Our demands are as follows:
-- Immediately reinstate ALL terminated workers.
-- Permanent Jobs for Permanent Work
-- Release of PF and ESI of previous work.

Sanitation Workers, Students and Teachers of Delhi University

https://thewire.in/rights/safai-karamchari-delhi-university-dismissal

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