EARLY TIMES REPORT
Jammu, Sept 29: The casual workers of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Health Engineering Department and Power Development Department, have been protesting for several days against the administrative negligence. Now, over 1 lakh casual workers, working in various departments including irrigation, PHE, PDD, Forest Department, safai karamchari, horticulture, among others, united under the banner J&K Casual Labourers’ United Front (JKCLUF) have decided to launch a united struggle with a hunger strike on October 2– on Gandhi Jayanti –to reiterate their long standing demands. Their demands are basic: release of pending wages, regularisation of their jobs, and implementation of Minimum Wage Act. According to the workers, no job policy has been framed in the last one year to regularise them, and the Minimum Wage Act has yet not been implemented. The Minimum Wage Act assures minimum wage of Rs 520 on daily basis to the workers which was supposed to be extended to the UT after the erstwhile state was demoted and the powers were shifted from state to Centre. The workers are, currently, entitled to receive honorarium of Rs 225 which they said that they don’t receive frequently and hence, there has been a huge backlog of pending wages. J&K Casual Labourers United Front Vice President, Deepak Kumar said, “The condition of workers is bad. Many workers have taken debt as they don’t have money to feed their families. We have been consistently protesting for our basic rights. We don’t know why J&K administration is taking so much of time to respond. We are not asking for anything illegal.” “It has become difficult for us to fulfill our day to day needs. We urgently want the L G Manoj Sinha to notice our plight,” Akhil, president of the PDD union, said.