On 15 January the contract workers of Tehkhand Depot of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) went on strike to protest against the anti-worker attitude of the management and the Labour department.
The strike was led by Mazdoor Ekta Committee (MEC) and the All India Employees Trade Union.
As part of the privatisation drive of DTC, all work connected with transport system is being done on contract. For example, the maintenance of the low floor buses is with the manufacturer, Tata Motors. Tata Motors has contracted this work to Bharat Vikas Group (BVG).
All kind of work is being done by skilled labour at the minimum wages. Comprehensive service record of the workers is not maintained. Workers are being denied all documentation - appointment letters, identification cards, attendance cards, salary slips, leave book records, overtime register, muster roll cum wage register, bonus register, ESI, EPF, etc.
Workers held a dharna in front of the Tehkhand depot and shouted slogans. They carried placards that said – Down with the management of BVG India! Unconditionally, take back the dismissed workers! Give ESI, EPF and bonus! The management tried hard to use the pressure from the police to disrupt the dharna of the striking workers. In spite of this, the workers persisted for the whole day and stopped the work there.
Speaking on behalf of the MEC, Birju Nayak told the workers that BVG India was the biggest company in India that provides services to different sectors. 25,000 workers work for this company. Among the services provided by this company are mechanized housekeeping, gardening, transport and supplies, electrical and engineering services.
He told the workers that this company provided workers on contract to various public and private sector entities, including the Rashtrapati Bhavan, parliament building, Prime Minister’s office and residence, Indian railway, AIIMS, Safdarjang Hospital, Delhi High Court, various ministries of Indian government, Greater Mumbai Corporation, Tata Motors. It has more than 350 clients, including ITC, ABB, Volkswagan, Hyundai, Fiat, ONGC and Hindustan Unilever, etc.
He pointed out that this company is recording a fantastic rate of profit. In 2005 its income was Rs.16 crore, which has increased to Rs. 400 crores in 2010. At the same time, workers are finding it hard to make ends meet. We can imagine how the blood and sweat of the workers is being looted to produce the profit.
He said that the BVG management throws the workers out when they demand their rights. The officials of the Labour Department are in cahoots with the management and fill their pockets with bribes for letting the management flout the norms.
This strike forced the management to agree to look at the demands of the workers. It was only after this that the workers called off the strike.