Contractor denies allegations, DMRC says it is sensitive to the issue
While the union of contract workers cries foul over violation of labour laws, the contractor denies the charges and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation claims it is sensitive to the issue.
Earlier this week, the Delhi Metro's contract workers under the banner of Delhi Metro Kamgar Union (DMKU) gathered at Jantar Mantar here to protest against “violation of labour laws by DMRC and JMD Consultants”. This was DMKU's second protest within a span of a year, the first was held in July last year against DMRC's violation of basic labour laws.
The DMKU had also submitted a memorandum to the Office of the Regional Labour Commissioner (Central), which came up for hearing on Friday. “The memorandum was not specifically targeting any one contractor but asks that the DMRC, being the principal employer, to ensure that labour laws are not violated,” said Shivani Kaul, a DMKU member, who represented the Union at the hearing. “We submitted a rejoinder to the response sent by the DMRC but the hearing was postponed to next month since their representative was not in a position to respond to our questions,” she added.
In its written response to the Assistant Labour Commissioner (Central), the DMRC has said that “as a principal employer, the DMRC has strictly instructed its contractors to ensure compliances of all statutory provisions during the currency of the contracts” and “…regular notices and instructions are issued by departments concerned of DMRC for effective enforcement of the applicable labour provisions by the contractual agencies.”
However, the DMKU taking the example of one contractor, JMD Consultants, has said at the time of appointment, contract workers are made to sign their resignation letters along with their appointment letters and also states that Rs.25,000 as ‘caution money' is taken. “According to the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970, a representative of the principal employer should be present at the time of payment of the wages to contract workers. Yet, the letter sent by DMRC does not mention the presence of any of its representatives,” said Ms. Shivani.
A source at JMD Consultants says that workers are not asked to sign a termination letter when they join and accusations of the number of workers laid off by the company earlier this year is also false. “The caution money is taken from those who are employed in the cash counter for issuing tickets. The amount that is taken from then is returned with interest,” said the source. “Regarding workers who were laid off, contracts of only those people whose police verification had not come through or whose address could not be verified were terminated.”
A DMRC spokesperson said as a principal employer, the management is sensitive to such issues. “If any violations are found by the contractor, the matter will be taken up and the contract terminated.”
Keywords: labour laws