2,700 workers win 10-yr battle to enter BMC rolls
The workers with Kachara Vahatuk Shramik Sangh leaders on Friday

Currently on contract, the workers will be made full-time civic employees with retrospective effect.

In a landmark case, the Supreme Court on Friday confirmed a Bombay High Court order of December 22, 2016, making 2,700 BMC contractual labourers who work indirectly for its solid waste management department permanent BMC employees.

These 2,700 workers are engaged to sweep roads and markets, and collect and transport garbage.

In 2007, the Kachara Vahatuk Shramik Sangh had filed a case for permanency with the Industrial Tribunal on behalf of 2,700 BMC contract safai workers. The tribunal had ruled in favour of these workers on October 13, 2014. Later, the BMC challenged this in the Bombay HC.

On December 22, 2016, the HC had ruled in favour of the Sangh, and in the order, Justice NM Jamdar had declared the contract system a “sham and bogus”. But the BMC challenged the HC order in the Supreme Court; on Friday, the SC ruled in favour of the Shramik Sangh.

Now all 2,700 contract safai workers have been declared permanent employees of the BMC, with retrospective effect from 2014. This means they will get monetary benefits from the date of the Industrial Tribunal’s order, which is October 2014.

Deputy Municipal Commissioner Vijay Balmwar did not respond to our calls, but a senior BMC official told Mumbai Mirror, “The SC has said this order cannot become a precedent in the future. Also, the benefits will be given from 2014 and not from the date when the case was filed. Importantly, as per the earlier HC order, verification of all workers is mandatory before making them permanent workers. Such verification has been done for 1,600 workers; verification for the other workers will be completed, and only then will they be eligible for the SC order.”

Milind Ranade, general secretary of the Kachara Vahatuk Shramik Sangh, said. “Today’s order is a big jolt to BMC officials who favoured big contractors and treated contractual conservancy workers badly. The court has respected the work done by these workers. This is a big victory for poor conservancy workers against the richest corporation in the country.” Ranade also said that the victory was made possible by the unorganised safai workers uniting under the umbrella of the Kachara Vahatuk Shramik Sangh.

“The mere existence of a contractor does not mean that the contract system is unquestionable. It may be a perfect paper arrangement, but in reality, it could be the management who is the employer and not the contractor,” said Vijay Dalvi, another Shramik Sangh leader.

Abasaheb Gaikwad, a BMC contract labourer who works in G North Ward, Dharavi, as a loader, told Mumbai Mirror, “I am overwhelmed and happy that my years of hard work were recognised, and that I will now get my rightful monetary benefits.”

“Merely because a contract existed between the employer and employee, it did not preclude the Industrial Tribunal, HC and SC from lifting the veil from ‘contract work’,” Deepak Bhalerao, president of the Shramik Sangh said.http://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/mumbai/civic/2700-workers-win-10-yr-battle-to-enter-bmc-rolls/articleshow/58074963.cms