On International Workers Day, The Sanitation Workers at Delhi University organized a protest outside the Arts Faculty in North Campus after their contract was abruptly cancelled by the administration.
The move, effective from Wednesday, will leave hundreds of workers unemployed. Most of the karamcharis have been working in the university for 10-15 years and said they were informed a week ago through various sources about their possible termination while others were not even given any official information.
The DU has terminated the contract with Sulabh International and engaged a private company, Nex Gen Manpower Services Pvt Ltd. This company has refused to employ the existing workers. It will reportedly employ a set of “well-trained workers”.
On Wednesday, the protesting workers demanded immediate restoration, giving them permanent employment and releasing pending PF and ESI.
Almost all safai karamcharis belong to the Valmiki caste, a Schedule Caste community. They work in hazardous conditions without safety-equipments and are forced to work overtime without compensation.
The workers and students have had multiple rounds of negotiations with the DU administration. They reported that the administration has shrugged off its responsibility and refused to take any action. The administration was unavailable to comment.
Similar incidents have had happened in the past where the workers have been terminated and it was only after a long struggle by them that they got reinstated