A section of teachers at Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Calcutta, held a candlelight march on the campus against the institute’s decision to not renew the services of some of the institute’s contractual employees.
The institute has outsourced the recruitment process from mid January.
The teachers held the march on the campus at Baranagar on the northern fringes of the city.
A teacher said these 20-odd employees who worked as the gardener, cooks, used to have their service renewed by an internal committee each year.
The service period of these employees, termed as direct contractual employees, will be over on January 15.
“From January 16 the recruitment has been outsourced. We apprehend that the agency that has been entrusted with the responsibility will recruit staff on their own, leaving these persons who have served the institute over the years unemployed amid the pandemic,” he said.
Another protesting teacher said even if some of the direct contractual employees were renewed by the agency, they might be forced to work at a lower pay scale.
“Any pay cut at this stage would be difficult to sustain. Even if these employees were contractual staff, the authorities earlier assured that they would be retained till 60 years. Now that assurance is gone,” he said.
“Since our repeated pleas were overlooked we had to launch the protest”.
The protest march where a section of students and some ISI officials also participated, started from the library building at 6pm and terminated at the main gate on BT Road.
When contacted, ISI Calcutta director Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay declined to comment.
A senior ISI Calcutta official said: “Everywhere the recruitment and renewal of the contractual staff is handled through the outsourced agencies.”
“We used to renew their contract through an internal committee. But once we consulted the ministry of statistics and programme implementation given that several institutes are resorting to outsourcing, we were told to outsource as well. The employees can still be retained by the agency,” the official said.
A statement issued on behalf of the ISI administration late on Wednesday said: “An issue has been raised in ISI Kolkata about possible retrenchment of some contractual workers at the level of cooks and gardeners in the Institute whose contracts with the Institute will end on Jan 15, 2022. The factual position is as follows. A duly selected outsourcing agency has issued offer letters to these contractual workers to be effective from January 16, 2022. The outsourcing has been done as per government policy, and has already been implemented in almost all centres of the Institute outside Kolkata.”