A report released by the Peoples Union of Democratic Rights has alleged that construction workers at the Commonwealth Games sites have been denied minimum wages, overtime and weekly offs besides being deprived of regular payment of wages, identity cards and wage slips to prove employment.
The report titled “Games the State plays” follows a public interest litigation the PUDR had filed in the Delhi High Court in January this year following which the Court appointed a four-member monitoring committee to assess ground realities and to take appropriate steps to redress the grievances of construction workers.
The committee in its report submitted on March 17 said the PUDR allegations were well-founded and that labour laws were being violated.
Some of the findings in the report are: unskilled workers are being paid Rs.110-130 per day instead of stipulated minimum wages of Rs.203; semi-skilled and skilled workers paid Rs.150-170 instead of stipulated minimum wage of Rs.225 for semi-skilled workers and Rs.248 for skilled workers.
At some sites they were paid a weekly amount of Rs.300-400 with the rest of the wages being held back by the contractors. The PUDR came across this at Delhi University, Shivaji Stadium, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and the Games Village.
No payment for overtime
The report also points out that workers who put in overtime of 10 hours of work daily are not being paid the additional Rs.100 due to them and workers putting in 12 hours of work daily were denied an additional Rs.200.
The PUDR has calculated that contractors deprived an estimated 40,000 workers at Commonwealth Games sites of about Rs.360 crore per year, through the denial of their rightful wages.
The report also comments on the abysmal living conditions of workers in sites such as the labour camp at the polo ground at Delhi University which are characterised by mosquito-breeding, lack of sanitation facilities and unavailability of potable water.
The report also criticises the government for not enforcing safety regulations at work sites, not recording worker casualties and failing to register workers with the Welfare Board.