Monday, July 12, 2010

Update on Workers' Situation at IITK

This post is mainly for spreading the information on the efforts put by few diligent people for the upliftment of the neglected. Personally I have contributed nothing except for signing a few petitions here and there.

Dear Fellow Alumnus,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for signing the petition “STOP Violating Contract Workers’ Rights at IITK" contract_ worker_rights_ iitk/ and update you with the workers’ situation.

The petition with 1017 signatures was delivered to the Director on June 9, 2010. Same petition with 500 and 150 signatures was also delivered to him on March 14, 2010 and February 3, 2010. So far we have had no response from IITK Administration.

Here is what the update on workers’ situation:

1. A team from Regional Labor Commissioner of UP and Uttarakhand visited the campus on 30th Nov, 2nd Dec and 9th Dec 2009 and interrogated workers engaged by 17 contractors. Serious violations of Labor laws were documented in the report submitted by the team to the Labor Commissioner. This visit transpired due to a complaint filed by 25 workers who were fired by a contractor when workers demanded that they be paid their full wages.

2. The Labor Commissioner himself visited campus on May 7, 2010. In spite of the orchestrated visit, he was able to see contract workers hiding in the bushes and fleeing the campus in open trucks. We do not know yet what action if any Labor Commissioner’s office will take against IITK.

3. On April 1, 2010, 16 contract workers from Visitors Hostel (VH) with 7 to 14 years of experience with clean records were arbitrarily fired by the new contractor. It was also discovered that the old contractor had been deducting Provident Fund (PF) from workers’ wages for the last several years but not depositing neither employee’s contribution nor employer’s contribution with the PF Commissioner. IITK had failed to monitor contractor’s activities with respect to PF deductions and deposits. The fired workers have now been re-instated due to pressure from various sections of IITK community. IITK Legal Cell has so far not resolved the PF issue.

4. Instead of improving the working condition of contract workers, Dr. Dhande, as an immediate response to the VH issue has issued a circular on June 15, 2010, giving full powers to contractors to hire and fire any worker they feel like. This is not only unlawful, it is also against his own Office Order of September 16, 2007 where he instructed contractors that the worker once hired can only be fired if: (a) the work is over as certified by IITK before the expected time period or (b) worker behaves in undesirable ways. In this case, the termination must be recommended by the Grievance Committee.

While you enjoy the Golden Jubilee celebrations, please keep these workers in your prayers. Please do not hesitate to pass on your suggestions on how we can encourage IITK to obey the laws of the land and grant these workers their legal rights who are forced to survive on about $2 per day – half of what they are entitled to!

Workers would greatly appreciate it if you could continue to apply pressure on IITK administration through your e-mails, phone calls or by asking questions on this issue when attending any IITK related events. Should you need contact information to reach key administrators at IITK, please let me know at


Ashok Gupta (BTech, IITK, 1972)

For more information you can visit these sites.  (For various reports in the above email.)   (A general article outlining the problems and the various solutions possible)

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