A week after Hindustan Times reported how conservancy labourers in the A ward, the ward that comprises the most affluent areas of the city, were not being paid their minimum wages, nearly all 80 labourers in the ward were paid arrears due to them for more than two years.
Hindustan Times had, in its March 14 edition, reported how labourers who sweep the streets outside landmarks like the Bombay high court, the state legislature and the civic body headquarters, are paid less than their constitutionally guaranteed minimum wage, forcing many to lead a hand-to-mouth existence.
A survey conducted by a labour union across the city’s 24 wards had revealed that A ward saw the maximum exploitation of workers in this respect.
Milind Ranade, general secretary of the Kacchra Vahatuk Shramik Sangh (KVSS), the union that conducted the survey said, “We had been striving to get these labourers their rightful wages. Thankfully, now the contractors have realised that they would face serious problems if they refuse to pay them their dues.”
The survey had revealed that instead of being paid the mandatory Rs247 per day, these workers are paid Rs120 per day in cash, without any salary slips or any documentary evidence.
A conservancy worker, A ward, Shailesh Patel (name changed) said, “I was consistently being underpaid since 2009. These arrears totally amounted to around Rs14,000. Two days back, I was paid Rs11,000 and the contractor has promised to pay the rest of the amount in a few days.”
Another conservancy worker, Hemant Sawant (name changed) also got most of his dues back. “I was to be paid a sum of Rs12,000 in the last two years and it was constantly delayed. Within days of the article, I was paid Rs9,000. I will be paid the rest this week.”