6 contract workers at TISS lose jobs; union calls it immoral

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Six people, who were working on the two off-campus hostels of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai, have been terminated from their jobs.

The reason cited by the institute was that the workers were attached to the two hostels, which had been taken on lease, and would no longer be with the institute in the immediate future.

Workers’ union members, however, have cried foul, stating that under the current circumstances, the dismissal from the service is immoral. “With a lockdown in place, where will these people find new sources of employment? Many of them are sole earners in their families,” said Deepak Bhalerao, general secretary, Sarva Shramik Sangh. The six employees were served termination notices earlier this month and were told that May 31 would be their last day at work.

The two hostels in question are a private building called Surjog near Ghatla and a building belonging to Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers (RCF), both of which have been taken on lease by the institute to provide accommodation for students.

M.P. Balamurugan, deputy registrar, TISS, said RCF did not wish to renew its contract with the institute and that the hostel was to be shut regardless after the last academic year ended. “The contract for Surjog hostel was ending on May 31. We have decided not to extend the lease for the same, given the lack of clarity with regards to when students will be able to return. The six employees were attached to these two hostels only,” he said, adding contract staff were hired for specific jobs and roles.

Mr. Bhalerao said four of the six who have been removed from the service were working on the main campus until a few months ago. “There is also a legal case revolving around the status of these workers, many of whom have been with the institute under different contractors. Given that the case is under way, it is incorrect for TISS to take such an action,” he pointed out.

The union has also approached the labour commissioner regarding the matter, who has sought a response from the institute.

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