Workers throughout the country are struggling to find ways of existence amid a massive loss of livelihood and shrinkage of economy. Amongst the worst hit sections of the economy is the informal sector where lakhs of workers have been deprived of their wages and many have not been paid for several months amid the lockdown.
With their meagre savings already exhausted and no livelihood opportunities coming their way, lakhs of migrant workers have been forced to return back home from the mega cities as doors to all opportunities have closed down for them.
Hunger deaths have been reported from several parts of the country over the last couple of weeks, despite a plethora of governmental and non-governmental initiatives, there is clearly a need to do much more than what is available at the moment to help India’s masses survive amid the lockdown. This is the time when the entire country is batting the coronavirus scare and sanitation workers in the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi have not been paid their salaries for over two months. Many such sanitation workers have been contemplating about quitting the job because they are finding it impossible to sustain their families amid the pandemic with no money in hand.
While the university administration has gone ahead and asked sanitation workers to work harder amid the pandemic for retaining on-campus hygiene, these workers claim that it has been totally insensitive about paying their dues amid the crisis. The All India Students Association(AISA) which is quite a dominant force on campus has said that the university must take immediate cognisance of the matter and make urgent arrangements to pay the workers their dues.
It also said that it was indeed a matter of shame that the VC who boasts of running the university on a world class repute cannot ensure that workers are paid their dues. The union also said that last year when the sanitation workers had sat on a strike demanding a bonus for the festival of Diwali, the VC had not addressed their concerns and had instead threatened to evict them.