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CPI(M) supports daily-wagers strike call

Urges govt to immediately regularize their services, release pending wages

Srinagar, June 24: While expressing serious concern over the government’s failure to fulfill its promise of regularizing daily wagers/casual labourers, scheme workers, contractual and others, working in various departments, CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami Wednesday said these poor people are already suffering due to the non-payment of wages for months together.

In 2017 the then PDP-BJP government had announced that it will regularize services of 60000 daily wagers SRO-520. Under SRO-520, the daily wagers were classified in skilled, semi skilled and unskilled categories and pay bands were also announced for them under different categories. However, the announcement has not seen the light of the day till date and these people feel betrayed.

Most of them are the lone breadwinners of their families and denying them their dues will have devastating effects not only on them, but on their families also. The daily wagers, whose figures as per the media reports have crossed over one lakh in Jammu and Kashmir are brewing with resentment against the government which has adopted a stoic silence over the regularization process as the files. These daily wagers who are working with dedication for years have been totally neglected by the government.

CPWs have been working in various schools for many years now with majority of them having put in 20 years consolidated service on insignificant monthly remuneration ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 2000. Even in several cases during the 2016 unrest when mysterious burning of schools started, the CPWs guarded the schools and during Coronavirus pandemic these poor workers are deployed at quarantine centres.

They should be paid regular wages @Rs.110/- per day as assured earlier by the government. They are being paid less than the normal wages, which is a gross violation of Minimum Wages Act and severe injustice with them. These workers be provided 50% quota from Watch and Ward posts recently sanctioned by the government under SRO 308.

The Mid Day Meal Scheme delivers basic services of nutrition, in the schools and Mid Day Meal workers are not being paid minimum wages nor do they have any social security benefits. In the name of ‘honorarium’ or ‘incentive’ they are paid a pittance as low as Rs.1000 per month for ten months a year.

Before appointing 10,000 class IV employees on a fast track basis in various departments, the government must regularize the services of these daily-wagers first as per the promises made with them from time-to-time by the successive governments.  The J&K administration should regularise all the casual, seasonal, ad-hoc, contractual, need-based and daily rated workers, who are working for years together. The government must devise comprehensive youth-oriented policies with long-lasting employment schemes.

It is not a matter of serious concern only, but we believe that any further delay in addressing this smouldering issue will make this problem worse to handle. Another grave injustice being faced by these people is that the Minimum Wages Act, which is applicable in other Union Territories (UTs) of the Country, has not been implemented in the J&K

While assuring his full support to the two-day strike call by the daily wagers demanding regularization and release of their pending salaries, he urged the government that there should be no further delay in their regularization. Some of these workers are performing emergency duties and manning the power stations round the clock to ensure the supply of power. Several among them have died in harness while others have become handicapped after receiving the electric shocks. However, the government has failed to provide any succor to them.

The employees appointed under SRO 202 are not eligible for transfer during the service of five years. Their genuine demand for transfer must be considered.

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