Brewing discontentment among workers against the company managements over labour and wage issues was one of the triggers for Wednesday’s violence in Noida.
A section of these discontented labourers allegedly saw an opportunity in the Bharat Bandh and vent their ire against their respective employers by burning and vandalizing their property on Wednesday, police claimed.
The police said they pass on five-six wage-related complaints to the local labour department every day but the issues largely stay unaddressed and this led to a growing sense of harassment among the workers and fuelled the anger. “My company did not pay salary of 50 workers for three months. We kept on protesting outside the company and complained to the administration. No one helped us and we had to work with another company,” said Rakesh Kumar, 23, who works with a garment company.
“Most of the employers pay R3,000 a month and force workers to work for 12 hours, which is unjust and is fueling anger among trade workers. We demand R10,000 for an unskilled labourer. The district labour department is defunct and does not pay heed to our issues,” said Uday Chand Jha, general secretary of the Indian Centre of Trade Union.
According to the police, nearly 50 labourers have died at various construction sites in the district and no proper compensation paid has been by the government. The labour department too has failed to step in to safeguard workers’ rights.
Labour department officials said action is being taken. “If we receive a complaint of non-payment of wages, we take appropriate action promptly. If an employer has dues to pay to an employee, we take legal action on such complaints. We receive five-six complaints every day related to wages and take proper action,” said KN Agarwal assistant labour commissioner.