Tura: The contractual employees of North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), one of the premier universities of the Northeast, have condemned the slow pace at which the office of the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner has been responding to their demand for ‘equal pay for equal work’ for all the staff appointed by the university.

Over 200 employees of NEHU’s Tura and Shillong campuses have been demanding their rightful dues with allegations of being provided meager salaries as casual workers and not on par with the permanent staff.

While the permanent staff are being handsomely paid by the institution, the pay of the temporary employees has literally been stuck in limbo, they allege.

The demand has risen following the Supreme Court’s order for equal pay for equal work as well as resolutions passed by the university for paying employees equally. However, some employees, who have spent close to 30 years in office, are still deprived of their rightful dues.

“We have been struggling to get our legal dues from the university for years now. Our fight to correct this anomaly began in 2018 and despite many letters and memos being submitted, they have continued to deny us our rights. This is against the spirit of NEHU as well as against the ruling of the apex court in our country,” said one of the employees from the Tura campus.

Sujata Gurudev, in-charge of the NEHU’s Tura campus, said she too had recommended a hike in salaries in line with the directions of the SC and NEHU. “We are still awaiting a nod from the Shillong office,” she said.

The Shillong office, however, could not be contacted for any comment on the issue.

“This apathy has continued for decades though we raised the matter 4 years ago. Currently, we have been informed that the matter has been placed before the DCLC in Guwahati but the files are moving at a snail’s pace for reasons best known to them. It has been pending for over 3 years now,” another employee of the Tura campus said.

The matter concerning the salary of the temporary staff was also taken up by pressure groups in Tura during their meeting with the vice-chancellor of NEHU in December 2021.

“We are demanding our salary as per NEHU’s notification No.F.4-16/Estt.I/88/8419 dated 2.01.1989 and DOPT, Government of India order OM No. 49014/2/86/Estt (C) dated 7.06.1988. However, there has been complete indifference and adamancy shown by the NEHU authorities on the subject, leaving us with no other option but to resort to agitations,” the employees said.

“The authorities have become immune to agitations. We are fighting a long-drawn battle for the temporary employees of NEHU. We are also being joined by several prominent NGOs of Garo Hills, who themselves are keeping a close vigil over this issue. We will not rest until our demands are fulfilled. We have families to take care of and they are not making it easy for any of us,” they said.

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