Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
Labour

JNU administration draws flak for allegedly exploiting sanitation workers

University’s workers unions, students unions and teachers associations decry the blatant violation of workers rights

Sabrangindia 13 Dec 2021

sanitation workers

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration on November 10, 2021 attempted to curb labour rights by barring strikes and unions, said the All India General Kamgar Union (AIGKU) on December 13, 2021.

At a press conference to expose the administration’s exploitative behaviour, union members talked about how the new contractor Sudarshan Facilities Private Limited tried to force workers to sign “conditions of service”, that said workers will never go on strike or become members of any union. All workers, students and teachers present at the conference agreed that the JNU administration or any private company has no right to make their employees sign such a document.

One of the sanitation work supervisors, Govind Kumars had told other workers as much. Shortly after, the company told him that his service was no longer needed. The AICCTU considered this a “clear victimisation of an educated Dalit youth for being aware of his rights and making his colleagues aware of the same.”

Addressing the press meet Kumar said, “We fulfill our duty and demand our legal rights. I am being punished for raising a collective demand of payment of wages to the labour commissioner and pointing out illegal practice by the private company. JNU admin cannot treat their workers like this.”

sanitation workers

Kumar referred to the order of Equal Pay for Equal Work given by the office of the Labour Commissioner in 2018 that mandated the administration to pay contractual workers at par with permanent employees. The AIGKU fought a long battle for this order. Yet, the JNU Vice-Chancellor, Registrar, Deputy Registrar and Sanitation Officer continue to ignore this order.

Aside from Kumar, other workers too raised their voice only to have their salaries deducted. A new contractor warned workers of retrenchment if they raised their voice and allegedly verbally abused them with casteist slurs.

Reacting to this, JNU Teachers Association’s (JNUTA) Amit Thorat said, “The JNUTA has told the registrar categorically that casteist abuse and victimisation of sanitation workers will not be tolerated on the campus. We demand that Kumar is given his job back immediately. JNU administration and the private company are accountable to us as to why an illegal document forbidding unionisation is being forced on sanitation workers.”

Similarly, AICCTU member Sucheta De said, “The workers union has raised all the illegal practices in JNU at every office. Is it so easy to violate law in a central university like JNU? Is the central government allowing such casteist exploitative practice against workers?”

sanitation workers

For the last two years, the JNU administration forced workers to labour months together without payment. When the Covid-19 lockdown was announced, the contractual mess workers were asked to stop working. As the campus was reopened in phases, some workers were called back and forced to work for several months without wages. This was to ‘recover’ the salary for the initial months of lockdown.

“The practice of forcing workers to pay without salary is blatantly illegal according to the Payment of Wages Act,” said the AICCTU in a press release.

It condemned how the administration even denied the legally mandated bonus to all contractual workers for the last three years.

JNU Student Union President Aishe Ghosh condemned this incident by saying, “The workers keep our campus running. It is the responsibility of the JNU administration as the primary employer to guarantee that all such illegal practices stop right now.”

Related:

Student leaders demand reopening of colleges, deem online education inadequate
Pay five-months salary or we stop work: JNU sanitation workers
Delhi: DASAM organises public hearing to voice grievances of waste workers

JNU administration draws flak for allegedly exploiting sanitation workers

University’s workers unions, students unions and teachers associations decry the blatant violation of workers rights

sanitation workers

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration on November 10, 2021 attempted to curb labour rights by barring strikes and unions, said the All India General Kamgar Union (AIGKU) on December 13, 2021.

At a press conference to expose the administration’s exploitative behaviour, union members talked about how the new contractor Sudarshan Facilities Private Limited tried to force workers to sign “conditions of service”, that said workers will never go on strike or become members of any union. All workers, students and teachers present at the conference agreed that the JNU administration or any private company has no right to make their employees sign such a document.

One of the sanitation work supervisors, Govind Kumars had told other workers as much. Shortly after, the company told him that his service was no longer needed. The AICCTU considered this a “clear victimisation of an educated Dalit youth for being aware of his rights and making his colleagues aware of the same.”

Addressing the press meet Kumar said, “We fulfill our duty and demand our legal rights. I am being punished for raising a collective demand of payment of wages to the labour commissioner and pointing out illegal practice by the private company. JNU admin cannot treat their workers like this.”

sanitation workers

Kumar referred to the order of Equal Pay for Equal Work given by the office of the Labour Commissioner in 2018 that mandated the administration to pay contractual workers at par with permanent employees. The AIGKU fought a long battle for this order. Yet, the JNU Vice-Chancellor, Registrar, Deputy Registrar and Sanitation Officer continue to ignore this order.

Aside from Kumar, other workers too raised their voice only to have their salaries deducted. A new contractor warned workers of retrenchment if they raised their voice and allegedly verbally abused them with casteist slurs.

Reacting to this, JNU Teachers Association’s (JNUTA) Amit Thorat said, “The JNUTA has told the registrar categorically that casteist abuse and victimisation of sanitation workers will not be tolerated on the campus. We demand that Kumar is given his job back immediately. JNU administration and the private company are accountable to us as to why an illegal document forbidding unionisation is being forced on sanitation workers.”

Similarly, AICCTU member Sucheta De said, “The workers union has raised all the illegal practices in JNU at every office. Is it so easy to violate law in a central university like JNU? Is the central government allowing such casteist exploitative practice against workers?”

sanitation workers

For the last two years, the JNU administration forced workers to labour months together without payment. When the Covid-19 lockdown was announced, the contractual mess workers were asked to stop working. As the campus was reopened in phases, some workers were called back and forced to work for several months without wages. This was to ‘recover’ the salary for the initial months of lockdown.

“The practice of forcing workers to pay without salary is blatantly illegal according to the Payment of Wages Act,” said the AICCTU in a press release.

It condemned how the administration even denied the legally mandated bonus to all contractual workers for the last three years.

JNU Student Union President Aishe Ghosh condemned this incident by saying, “The workers keep our campus running. It is the responsibility of the JNU administration as the primary employer to guarantee that all such illegal practices stop right now.”

Related:

Student leaders demand reopening of colleges, deem online education inadequate
Pay five-months salary or we stop work: JNU sanitation workers
Delhi: DASAM organises public hearing to voice grievances of waste workers

Related Articles

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Videos

Communalism

Hate, Arms, Shrine Takeovers: Is Hindutva extremism at its peak in Karnataka?

WATCH: In this SabrangIndia Exclusive show called 'Column 9', journalist & activist Shivasundar talks about the journey of Hindutva Extremism, from fringe groups to the center, in Karnataka, which is arguably empowered and emboldened by the legislative and judiciary, simultaneously.

Communalism

Hate, Arms, Shrine Takeovers: Is Hindutva extremism at its peak in Karnataka?

WATCH: In this SabrangIndia Exclusive show called 'Column 9', journalist & activist Shivasundar talks about the journey of Hindutva Extremism, from fringe groups to the center, in Karnataka, which is arguably empowered and emboldened by the legislative and judiciary, simultaneously.

IN FACT

Analysis

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Archives