Society staff in Noida Sector 137 go on strike to demand salariesUpdated: May 14, 2020 23:45 IST
The staff of a highrise in Sector 137 — Exotica Fresco — were forced to go on a strike for five days after they were not paid their salaries this month. The staff claimed that they had been promised double the pay if they worked during the lockdown, but ultimately not paid anything.
Sources said that the housekeeping and maintenance staff and security guards of Exotica Fresco had been on a strike since Sunday, though most of them rejoined duty by Thursday after residents of the society requested them.
“We were offered twice the salaries if we stayed here and worked during the lockdown. For the past 4 to 5 months, our salaries have been coming late and even though that is inconvenient, we somehow managed. But they haven’t paid us at all this month. We have responsibilities. I have to send money back home to Bihar. I also have family living in Noida who are dependent on my income,” said a security guard of the society, on condition of anonymity.
He said that they have been assured of timely payment earlier, but not paid forcing them to go on a strike
On Thursday, after much pleading and requests from residents, a section of the staff decided to partially resume their duties.
“They do this every month and we have had enough. We would have continued the strike but some residents requested us to call it off. We have been told that we will get half our salaries soon. But if they had to pay only half, why did they offer us twice the money? If we don’t get our salaries soon, we may have to think about quitting altogether,” said a member of the housekeeping staff.
The society normally retains more than 100 staff members but the number has been reduced to less than 35 amid the lockdown.
“The reduced number of staff means that the existing ones have to put in more hours, without getting paid for it . We had to request them several times to get back to work, even though we absolutely understand their actions. Residents have tried to get in touch with their superiors, but there hasn’t been appropriate response and no one seems to be bothered by their plight,” said a resident of the society.
“These people have been working on the front lines as the pandemic raged around us. Two days ago, I saw some of the staff members standing outside the gate with their families, because they desperately needed their wages. The problem is not that we had been left vulnerable because of lack of security or garbage collection. The problem is that these people are risking a lot and are not even being paid for their efforts,” said another resident.
The society management, however, denied that the staff had gone on a strike.
“There was some tension in the morning but all the staff returned to work promptly. There was a delay last month but the salaries were ultimately paid. And this month double salaries have to come, half of which will be paid by today (Thursday) and the rest by tomorrow ,” said Bhaskar Ojha, the estate manager of the society.