Lathi charge on Hundreds of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation contract employees

The real face of Aam Admi Party Government gets exposed. Kejriwal government ordered lathi charge on hundreds of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation contract employees protesting at the Delhi Secretariat to remind Mr. Kejriwal of his promise to abolish contract system on perennial nature work. TOM operators, Housekeepers and Security guards working in DMRC held a protest demonstration at the Delhi Secretariat today to raise their demands in front of the newly formed Kejriwal government. The demonstration was organized under the banner of Delhi Metro Rail Contract Workers Union by the contract workers to highlight  their  plight  and  the  discrimination  faced  by  them  at  the  hands  of  Delhi  Metro  Rail Corporation.

 When the protesting workers asked to meet with the Labour minister Gopal Rai, the officials refused and instead ordered the police to lathi charge at the gathering to disperse them. The police lathi charged at the peacefully protesting workers causing serious injuries to many workers and gravely injuring an activist of DMRCWU. The workers refused to go away and laid seige on the Delhi Secretariat. The workers burnt an effigy of Kejriwal at the demonstration. The workers stood their ground and in the end the officials agreed under pressure from the workers to meet with a delegation of their representatives.

Shivani, the legal advisor of DMRCWU, said that this lathi charge has shown the real face of Kejriwal Government beyond doubt. This government which immediately fulfilled the promises made for the factory owners and traders, resorted to brute force against hundreds of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation contract workers who are doing perennial nature jobs. Today, the pro-owner and pro-management character of the so-called “Aam Admi Party” Government has been exposed. 

Today TOM operators, Housekeepers and Security guards working in DMRC held a protest demonstration at the Delhi Secretariat to raise their demands in front of the newly formed Kejriwal government. 

 Shivani, the legal advisor of DMRCWU, in her opening statement pointed out that the workers are employed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation through various contract agencies as contractual labour. These contract workers are not given proper appointment letters, minimun wages,  E.S.I,  P.F  or  any  other  facility.  DMRC illegally employs  contract  workers  in  work  of perennial nature and openly violates the labour laws guaranteed to the workers by constitution. The Delhi Metro is considered an asset to the city and is widely considered as a source of pride but it is a shame how the workers who work hard day and night to ensure that this lifeline of Delhi keeps on working are exploited brutally by both the DMRC authorities and various contract companies such as NCES, Varsed, Bedi and Bedi, JMD Trig Detectives etc. Shivani also said that the newly formed Kejriwal Government must pass a law strictly prohibiting employment of contract labour in works of perennial nature in Delhi state, as it is well within its power.

Pankaj of DMRCWU said that what is surprising is the fact that the DMRC doesn’t recognize these workers employed through agencies as its own employees, though being the principal employer, DMRC is legally bound to ensure the implementation of labour laws pertaining to these contract workers. The agencies through which these workers are hired exploit the workers in more than one ways, first they charge a sum of Rs20,000- 30,000 as security before getting them a job at DMRC, then they, in the name of ‘recall’ fire anyone they seem fit without any proper explanation or notice.

Aijaz, another member of DMRCWU iterated the People of Delhi have given their mandate to the Aam Admi Party, and the majority of the votes to AAP came from the economically weaker sections of the society. These are the people who work for 12-14 hours a day and are not even provided with minimum wages. And only when the Government acts for the betterment of their lives will it truly prove that they indeed are Aam Aadmi.

The workers gathered at the Delhi Secretariat raised slogans and demanded that the Labour Laws be strictly adhered to by the DMRC and that the incumbent Government should declare a deadline during which they will fulfill their promise of doing away with contractual labour from the work of perennial labour. The workers also submitted a memorandum with the Chief Minister’s office which listed the following demands:

1. The Contract Labourers employed by DMRC involved in work of perennial nature should be made permanent with immediate effect and should also be provided with appointment letters by DMRC which primarily include TOM operators, Housekeepers and security guards.

To make this step more efficient, the Delhi Government should introduce an ordinance at Delhi level that abolishes Contractual labour in work of perennial nature and pass it with majority.

2. The Contract agencies which terminate the workers in the name of ‘recall’ should be penalized and such a practice should be curbed. Moreover, the workers so far terminated in this way should be reinstated.

3. The amount of Rs 20,000 extorted from the workers in the name of security deposit should be refunded and this blatant corrupt practice should be exposed.

4. All the DMRC workers should be provided with Minimum Wages, E.S.I, PF and all the other facilities that they are entitled to receive through Labour laws.

5. A CAG audit of the deals and transactions between DMRC and the contract agencies whose services have been invoked by DMRC should be done without any further delay.

The workers submitted the memorandum of their demands and said that they will continue their fight  and come again at the Delhi secretariat in even larger numbers to get their rights.

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