Almost 1,000 workers have been protesting for two days at Freedom Park alleging ‘unfair sackings’ and poor working conditions.

Govt abused temporary status denied basic rights Ktaka govt hostel workers protest
news Protest Friday, June 29, 2018 - 07:29

Nearly 1,000 government hostel workers took to Freedom Park on Thursday to continue their two-day protest against unfair working conditions and mass sackings.

The workers who are from the Karnataka State Government Hostel and Boarding School Contract Workers Association, allege that they have all been unfairly sacked though some of them have been working for 10 years or more.

Over 1,000 men, women, and even children have been protesting at Freedom Park for 2 days and more workers are expected to arrive at the protest today from across the state.

According to the workers, almost 5,000 jobs have been lost, and the government has replaced them with overqualified graduates. The government has apparently rebuffed all sacked workers and has accused them of obtaining their jobs through unofficial means.

“We were hoping that we would be made permanent in a few days and be given fair wages. But instead we have all been told to go home. All we were asking for is a steady job until we could retire, but the government has instead decided to overpay for graduates and double graduates,” said Nityananda Swami, President of the Workers Association.

All the workers belong to minority castes and worked in government hostels for underprivileged students, as cooks, cleaners, security guards, and in other menial jobs.

Nityananda further stated that the newly hired workers would be subcontracting their duties to someone else, which is illegal, and alleges that the government is turning a blind eye to the situation. He called on state Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, to visit the workers and see their plight.

On Wednesday, Backward Classes Welfare Minister, Puttaranga Shetty, met the workers and assured them the government would look into their problems.

Bad working conditions

None of the temporary employees were given leave throughout their tenures, even when unwell.  

Tarabai, a hostel cleaner from Bidar, said she was not allowed to take even one holiday during her 12-year service.

“I went to a wedding for 8 days, and was forced to give half of my entire monthly salary to the saheb (officer) as a result. The government has used our temporary status to completely deny us of our basic rights,” said another worker, Manjunath, from Chikballapur.

“We may just be contract workers, but we too have rights and dignities. We are not even asking for permanent status anymore, just allow us to work until we retire. If you can change the rules to allow graduates to work, change them again to allow us to resume our service to the children,” Nityananda stated.

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