JNU Minimum Wage Struggle sign now

How can a family survive in Delhi on 65 rupees a day? On 14th November 2006, fifteen construction workers approached JNU Students Union (JNUSU) with the complaint that instead of the 70 rupees they had been promised, they were being forced to accept 65 rupees a day. The legal minimum wage for Delhi is Rs.127.40 per day! The very next day, the contractors threw these fifteen workers out of work, also refusing to pay them any money for work done in November. Faced with non-payment of minimum wages on campus, JNUSU decided to step in. So as to determine the extent of the violations, they undertook a detailed survey at construction sites on campus. When faced with the demand to pay minimum wages, the contractors Chaudhary and Jiyalal Malhotra stopped work on their sites a classic response by capital when faced with labour asking for their rights. There were blatant attempts made by the contractor-administration nexus to intimidate workers and shirk responsibility. In a situation of growing food insecurity the JNUSU and JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) were compelled to run a community kitchen for retrenched workers and their families for an entire month. The administration-contractor nexus further attempted to intimidate and threaten the workers by breaking their jhuggis while they were at work on 14th December 2006.
As we found, these violations of workers rights were not isolated incidents, but the problem of underpayment and casualisation is extremely widespread. In December JNUSU was approached by a group of Safai karamcharis and gardeners, employed by the private firm Vayudoot, who are being paid far below the legal minimum wage. Instead of the legal wage of at least Rs.3312 for Safai karamcharis (unskilled workers) and Rs.3736 for gardeners (skilled workers), they have been promised Rs.2500. Here again, for raising their voices, wages have been delayed, depressed and denied, 46 gardeners have been thrown out and Safai karamcharis are working under the imminent threat of retrenchment. The situation is worse in the case of mess workers, some of whom have been employed for over 13 years on daily wages and have been denied not only a permanent contract but also the working benefits due to them.
Despite a sustained struggle by students and workers, the JNU administration as Principal Employer has not taken any concrete steps to enforce workers rights. Worse still, the contractor-JNU administration nexus has stepped up its oppression and compelled these workers to leave JNU.
Why does the principal employer claim helplessness before the contractors and then work in tandem with them to retrench the workers? The JNU administration has tried to absolve itself of its legal responsibility and turned a blind eye to bonded labour on JNU campus. How can a campus that seeks international repute violate the most basic labour laws of the land? Such is the situation as it prevails today on campus. The point, however, is to change it.
We reiterate the demands made in the Memorandum delivered to the administration by JNUSU on 18th December 2006:
Payments for all worksites should be made immediately according to minimum wage rates and muster rolls of all worksites should be handed over to JNUSU.
Payment of Rs.1000 per hut destroyed should be made by the contractor Chaudhary as compensation to the workers.
The constitution of an independent enquiry committee comprising both JNUTA and JNUSU representatives to look into various malpractices of the engineering department and the administration.
A time bound assurance on the following commitments to which administration agreed on 22nd November 2006 with JNUSU: Provision of details of all work in JNU including estimates and names of contractors; issue and display of muster rolls at worksites and their availability on demand, provision of proper medical and worksite facilities, including JNU Health Center facilities to all workers; issuance of job cards; fixed days for wage payments at each site.
A complete refund of the expenses incurred by the JNUTA and JNUSU in the running of the community kitchen.
The administration provide JNUSU details of all construction works taking place inside JNU and details on the employment and contracts of mess workers, Safai karamcharis, gardeners and Group Four Security guards.
The administration-contractor nexus should stop harassing workers. Any attempts to threaten or retrench workers will be met with stiff resistance.

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Latest Signatures

  • 17 January 2016300. Umashankar S
    I support this petition
  • 01 January 2016299. Nandan N
    Institution/workplace National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata This is long overdue.
  • 23 December 2015298. Uditi S
    Institution/workplace University of Cambridge I am shocked at the blatant exploitation JNU administration is complicit in and glad to be part of this signature campaign. Keep up the fight!
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  • 25 September 2015289. Nandini Mason
    Institution/workplace Sciences Po, Paris В
  • 24 September 2015288. Janaki Ward
    Institution/workplace PU, former JNU student i am glad this struggle is taking place in the campus.
  • 21 September 2015287. Yogesh S
    Institution/workplace DAV College, Hall Gate, Amritsar Ensure Minimum Wages! Restore Workers' Statutory Rights
  • 25 August 2015286. Kaustav Wheeler
    Institution/workplace jnu smash the chains of bondage!!
  • 20 August 2015285. Nirmali G
    I support this petition
  • 16 August 2015284. Sona M
    Institution/workplace JNU Student-worker unity long live!!!!!
  • 12 August 2015283. Prabhu P
    Institution/workplace Department of History, University of Delhi It might be recalle that the Supreme Court has in avery importnat judgement declared that payment below minimum wages amounts to employment of forced labour. This is avery basic but extreme
  • 30 July 2015282. Jean D
    Institution/workplace G.B. Pant Social Science Institute Allahabad Pura kaam, pura daam.
  • 23 July 2015281. Ganapathydor Lester
    I support this petition
  • 25 June 2015280. Aditya P
    Institution/workplace Partners for Urban Knowledge Action and Research Tragic, a university whose politics makes it unique in India turns out to be just the same. But we knew that didn't we, when we marched from the Dhaba to Mahi.
  • 20 June 2015279. Suneira Ramos
    I support this petition
  • 20 June 2015278. Kondaveeti S
    Institution/workplace Editor, Feminist Magazine Bhumika in Telugu We are with you
  • 12 June 2015277. Sucharita S
    I support this petition
  • 12 June 2015276. Dr Rst
    Institution/workplace CEC We are with the cause of labour
  • 05 June 2015275. Siddharth Potter
    Institution/workplace JNU В
  • 03 June 2015274. Nayanjyoti Moon
    Institution/workplace Ramjas College Students' Union KAAM KA PURA DAAM DO!!

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Christina BeckBy:
Petition target:
The Vice Chancellor, JNU, New Delhi


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