The labour commissioner has slapped a notice on municipal commissioner Debasis Som for violation of the Minimum Wages Act in paying wages to contract workers. The Citu leadership in the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) has decided to launch a movement against mayor Subrata Mukherjee for allowing the exploitation to carry on, “despite claiming to be a veteran trade union leader for decades”.
Sources said there are over 2,000 contract workers in the civic body and each of them is paid Rs 1,350 per month, though the sum ought to be Rs 2,323 as per the Act. “The CMC is not the appointing authority of these contract workers. They work for contractors’ firms. Hence, payments are being made according to the agreement with the labour contractors. It could be that the rate quoted by the contractors is less than the minimum wages,” explained mayor Mukherjee on Tuesday.
Citu leader Amalendu Bhattacharya said being a union leader himself, the mayor should ensure that the contract workers in a socially-responsible institution like the CMC get their minimum wages. “On the plea of a contract, can a mayor violate an enactment'” asked Bhattacharya. He added that someone with the stature of Mukherjee should not allow such “exploitation” at his institution.