Tamil Nadu

HC comes to the aid of conservancy workers

The petitioner association sought a direction to the authorities to pay workers engaged on a non-permanent basis the same monthly salary as that of permanent workers   | Photo Credit: K_V_SRINIVASAN

The Madras High Court has ordered that the services of 1,457 conservancy workers, engaged on non-permanent basis under National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM), in Zone-7 (Ambattur) of Greater Chennai Corporation, should not be disturbed for three months. The order was passed taking into consideration the need for such frontline workers to fight the raging second wave of COVID-19.

Justice S. Vaidyanathan issued the direction on a writ petition filed by Uzhaipor Urimai Iyakkam, an association representing the conservancy workers. The association had stated that its members had been performing yeomen service of cleaning the streets, lakes and so on by risking their lives during the pandemic. Yet, the GCC was planning to divest them of the job by outsourcing the work, they claimed.

They sought a direction to the State government as well as the GCC to pay them the same monthly salary that is paid to permanent workers and not to disengage their services. Defending the GCC, its counsel Karthika Ashok told the court that two private firms Urbaser and Ramky Enviro Engineers had been entrusted with the conservancy work in the city under NULM and that those companies too had been engaging sanitary workers.

Asserting that the corporation had not directly engaged the services of those sanitary workers, she said, in any event the workers could not prevent the corporation from outsourcing the conservancy work. After hearing both sides, the judge observed that the larger relief sought for by the petitioner association could be decided at a later stage and ordered that the services of the sanitary workers should not be disturbed till then.

“The services of these persons are indispensable for the purpose of safety and health of every citizen of the State,” the judge said and directed the corporation to file a counter affidavit in the meantime.

The judge also gave liberty to the petitioner association to approach the authority concerned under the Tamil Nadu Industrial Establishments Conferment of Permanent Status to Workmen Act of 1981.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 1:42:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-comes-to-the-aid-of-conservancy-workers/article34347537.ece

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