Delhi Labour Minister Orders Reinstatement of 55 Terminated Safai Karamcharis at NLU Delhi

Labour Minister of the Delhi Government, Gopal Rai, met with the students of National Law University of Delhi (NLU Delhi) to discuss the alleged unlawful termination of the housekeeping staff of the university. Consequently, the Labour Minister ordered the University to reinstate all 55 safai karmcharis who lost their jobs amidst the COVID-19 lockdown.

Students, Protests and a Win

On January 4th, 2020, the students of NLU Delhi started their protest against termination of the contract with White Fox and Golden. The termination had left 55 contractual workers unemployed, without any prior notice. The University later, contracted with Rajendra Management Group (RMG), as per the students. The University allegedly passed the contract without evaluating the manpower necessities as mandated by a notification issued by the Delhi government.

Appropriately, students sought to cancel the contract with RMG and retain all old contractual workers. The students stated that the University should strictly adhere to all labor laws and relevant statutory provisions.

“Saving manpower beyond 20% amounts to exploitation”, exclaimed the students.

The meeting was held on 15th June 2020, between the Ministry, students, and all stakeholders. It also comprised of two students and two workers.

Labour Minister issues directions against University actions

In the meeting on 15th June 2020, the Labour Minister issued certain directions against the actions of the University:

  1. The contract passed between NLU Delhi and RMG for housekeeping services is to be immediately canceled henceforth.
  2. The University must reinstate the terminated 55 Safai Karamcharis.
  3. The Administrative Reforms Department will henceforth calculate the manpower requirement of Safai Karamcharis for the University according to Public Works Department norms. After the assessment, the re-tendering process for the housekeeping services will begin.
  4. The University is to directly pay the Safai Karamcharisuntil they complete the manpower assessment and the re-tendering process.

“This marks the successful culmination of the 5 and a month-long relentless agitation led by the wrongfully removed safai karamcharis of National Law University, Delhi”, NLUD Workers-Students Solidarity.

Contentions of the University

The University clearly stated that:

“We are not a direct party in this issue as the matter is between the workers and the contractor. Retention or non-retention rests with the contractors as per the terms and conditions of the contract. The University merely subscribes services and not workers. Hence this matter pertains to the contractor who incidentally did not attend this meeting. This Contractor has also offered all the remaining workers to give employment within a radius of 5 km. The University under any circumstances cannot assure of giving continuous employment such type of workers in the future.”

It also stated that the phrase “55 workers” is untrue, since half of the total workers of the University belong to the previous group itself. Since they are not a direct party to the issue, the University cannot assure of giving them continuous employment. Notably, the contractor has also offered the rest of the workers’ employment, within a radius of 5km.

In reply to the above contentions, the student protestors stated that the old contract under which they employed the workers was a sham. Moreover, the university had defaulted in not giving prior notice to their termination as well. It had also neglected to reiterate a mandatory manpower assessment exercise before passing a new contract with RMG.

Earlier in July 2017 communication as well, the University did not give reasonable replies to queries regarding the requirement of staff they would deploy for housekeeping. And whether this would be assessed based on the PWD/Government norms.

CONTINUE READING

The case of Aruna Shanbaug that changed the Euthanasia laws...

0
It is my Belief that death is a friend to whom we should be grateful, for it frees us from the manifold ills which are our lot - Mahatma Gandhi. As human beings, out the umpteen desires that we have, one of them is definitely to have a peaceful death....

Justice D Y Chandrachud’s path-breaking Verdict in the Sabarimala Case of...

0
“Will the quest for equality and fraternity be denuded of its content where women continue to be treated as children of a lesser god in exercising their liberties in matters of belief, faith and worship? Will the pursuit of individual dignity be capable of being achieved if we deny...

After repealing section 377, its time to Legalise Same-Sex Marriage in...

0
A draconian, archaic law that criminalized homosexuality was struck down in a historic judgment given by the Supreme Court in 2018. Two years after the judgment, the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community has now sought legal recognition of their relationships. As the social stigmas surrounding the LGBTQ...

Modern Day Book Burning a.k.a Internet Shutdowns

0
The internet has become an indispensable element in our society for all the obvious reasons. For the majority of users, not a single day goes by where we don't 'need' the internet and the lack of a reliable and fast connection can feel paralyzing. An internet shutdown refers to...

Letter to UNHRC – Dr Kafeel Khan, Punished Because He’s Muslim

0
Kafeel Khan, a doctor by profession and a social activist has been targeted by Yogi Government since 2017, in 3 years he had been maliciously arrested 3 times & imprisoned for around 14 months on the false charges set up against him at many instances. Now he is absolved...

Prison Life In India and its Aftermath

0
Everyone prays to never see the bars of prison in their lifetime. Yet, as fickle as life is, it is quite hard to predict the future. It is in everyone’s benefit to know a little bit about prison life; for movies and cinemas do not do justice to the...