Granting relief to the 2,700 contractual conservancy workers, the Supreme Court on Friday upheld the Bombay High Court’s order and rejected the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s appeal against making them permanent employees of the solid waste management department. The SC order came as big blow to the BMC as apart from taking them on board as permanent employees, the civic body will also have to grant them monetary benefits of permanent employees from October 2014, as per the order issued by the Industrial Tribunal on that day.
The civic officials said they would abide by SC’s orders and would start the process of absorbing contractual workers. “We will re-verify the credentials of the workers by way of Aadhaar card and will then grant them permanency,” said a senior civic official.
Elated, Milind Ranade, general secretary of the Kachra Vahtuk Shramik Sangh (KVSS) union said, “Even after approaching the highest court, the BMC has lost in every way and the workers can finally have what they rightfully deserve…” he said.
The conservancy workers, who are a part of the KVSS, had approached the Industrial Tribunal in 2007 with the demand that they should be granted the benefits of permanent employees instead of being treated as volunteers on a contractual basis. The workers are involved in cleaning of the roads, collection and transportation of solid waste from houses to the dumping ground and were given allowances through contractors instead of wages.
On October 23, 2014, the Industrial Tribunal had ruled that the BMC would extend the benefits and status of permanent workers to those who had completed 240 days of service. The tribunal had also ruled that the BMC would have to pay arrears to the conservancy workers, at par with permanent employees . The BMC then challenged the order in the Bombay HC, which rejected the appeal last year. The BMC then approached the SC in January.