At least 12 contractual employees from Panjab University, most of whom have been working at the university for more than ten years now, have not received their salary since January. The workers met Junior Engineer Gurvinder Singh from the construction office on Friday morning, who told them there was a hiccup in clearing the bills, and assured them that their salaries will be paid within the next week. “We were told we will get our salary till March and that our tender finishes by March so we won’t get a salary after, but we were told we have been employed for the year when we were hired!” said a maintenance worker, on the condition of anonymity.
The employees, who include plumbers, maintenance workers, and helpers employed to work in hostels and administrative offices of the university, have been shuttling between contractors and university officials, but to no avail.
“We were placed under a new contract in this year, and we got our fist salary for January. Since then we have received no money. We worked until the last week of March and were not able to go after the lockdown, so at least they should pay us up to March,” said the maintenance worker. The varsity had maintained that it will ensure that employees, permanent or contractual, will receive pay throughout the lockdown even if they are unable to come for work.
“I have three children. How am I to feed them and pay for their school fees?” asked another employee who has been working as a plumber at the varsity since 2010. The staffer added that he has been borrowing money from relatives to survive the lockdown, but can no longer go on living on charity. “Salary is my right. We went to the police who spoke to our contractor, who told them that he has not received his due from the varsity,” said the plumber.
“There was an issue with the March bill to be paid to the contractor which we will clear now,” said RK Rai, Executive Engineer for the university.
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