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‘Inhumane and unscrupulous’: Demand grows to recall 135 Madurai Kamaraj University casual workers

Academicians dubbed the decision inhumane and unscrupulous. Many of these staff had been working for the university for 10 years.

Published: 11th April 2022 05:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th April 2022 05:19 AM   |  A+A-

Madurai Kamaraj University.

Madurai Kamaraj University.

Express News Service

MADURAI:  Within just one week of assuming office, Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) vice-chancellor J Kumar has terminated the services of 135 Casual Labour (CLR) and Consolidated Pay Casual Labour (CPCLR) employees without prior notice. Academicians dubbed the decision inhumane and unscrupulous. Many of these staff had been working for the university for 10 years.

Over 400 non-teaching staff work as CLR and CPCLR staff at the university. CPCLR employees draw a consolidated salary ranging from Rs 8,000 to Rs 20,000 per month, while CLR staff get Rs 500 per day and an average of 22 days of work in a month. Most of them, employed as drivers, gardeners, certificate-preparation staff, etc., have been working in the same position for over 10 years. In this situation, 135 of them were sacked on Friday.

A CLR worker said, “I have been working here for 10 years. How can they suddenly fire me? Our families will have to bear the brunt of the new V-C’s inhumane decision.” Staff should not be made scapegoats for the misappropriation of Rs 500 crore and former university officials’ mismanagement, said Save MKU Coalition Secretary R Murali and president A Srinivasan.

“Over 3,000 objections were raised during the MKU audit. This was due to the mismanagement of officials in the last 15 years. Ex-officio members, including previous principal secretaries to the Higher Education Minister, were responsible for this. Sacking temporary staff is not the way to set the house in order. Some of these affected employees are third-generation contract workers, whose only hope is to secure a permanent university job. Employing them as casual labourers for over 10 years is itself a violation of labour laws,” they stated.

The coalition office-bearers have also sought Chief Minister MK Stalin’s intervention. On request of anonymity, an administrator from MKU said the 135 workers’ contracts had expired on April 4. “We followed ‘last come, first go’ policy while terminating the services. It was becoming difficult to manage varsity affairs with these employees. Most of them do not even know how to operate a computer. All State universities have been asked to appoint non-teaching staff through manpower agencies. Anna University is already recruiting people this way... There are also engineering graduates and MCA degree holders among the 135 labourers,” he added.

Responding to the issue, vice-chancellor J Kumar said the varsity was reeling under a severe financial crisis. “We need to create revenue for MKU, and at the same time clear the audit objections so that the State government can release us funds,” he said. Kumar also condemned the recent senate resolution to withdraw the syndicate’s decision to refix the salary and recover excess pay from the staff.

‘Casteism, favouritism’
“The authorities claimed only those who joined after August 2013 were asked to leave. But this is not true. This action reeks of casteism & favouritism,” said a worker



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