Workers paid wages only for workdays

Despite the government urging employers to pay workers their salaries during the COVID-19 lockdown, several employees have complained that they have been paid wages only till March 22 and have been asked to return after the end of the lockdown.

Kamli from Jharkhand, who works at a footwear factory in Narela Industrial Area, said that she and 200 other workers were asked to come on Wednesday morning to collect their wages but were paid only up to March 22, the last day that they worked.

“There were about 200 workers who were called and paid only for the period in March that they had worked and said that the account was now settled. How will we survive if we don’t get paid?” Kamli said. She added that although she was willing to speak up against the factory, several colleagues were unwilling to protest and demand their wages.

“They may not pay us for two months, but when this lockdown ends, it is the same factory that will employ us again. If we upset the management, they will not take us back. Then where will we find work?” said Babita, also from Jharkhand, who works at another footwear manufacturing unit.

Wage laws

A report by the Stranded Workers Action Network on the plight of migrant workers during the first phase of the lockdown, released on Wednesday, stated that there are wage laws which mandate that workers are entitled to full and timely payment of wages but it was the government’s responsibility to ensure compliance of these laws for a safe and secure working environment for migrant workers.

“A majority of stranded workers were not able to recall the name of the main builder or company they have been working for. Their only link to the city or town where they are working is through their contractor. In most cases, contractors have switched off their phones leaving workers to fend for themselves,” the report said.

The report stated that 60% of the workers from Delhi and Haryana said they had been able to access cooked meals but were apprehensive of visiting food facilities and relief centres fearing the spread of COVID-19 due to congestion.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 10:30:08 AM |

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