Chennai, Feb 5, 2012(TNN): Four women sweepers, who have put in 29 years of service after being hired on a temporary basis, won a major victory when the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) ordered the postal department to regularize their services within three months.
B Jayalakshmi, M Mariammal, P Lakshmi and B R Athilakshmi were hired as sweepers and manual scavengers in 1982 on a temporary basis. They were required to work for six to seven hours a day.
In 1996, their work schedule was stretched to eight hours a day. The women said though they were eligible for temporary employees’ status in 1989, their cases were not considered. But after they applied for regularization in May 2011, they said, the department started paying them on a daily basis, instead of a monthly salary.
“These women approached the tribunal only when the department tried to dismiss them from service. After extracting work from them for more than two decades, the department wanted to send them away without giving any benefits. Once their services are regularized, their monthly salary and other service benefits will be on a par with those in central government’s group D posts (approximately 10,000),” their advocate, R Malaichamy, said.
A tribunal bench consisting of judicial member G Shanthappa and administrative member R Satapathy observed it was a fact that the women had continued in service without any break or termination.
Noting that they had become part-time casual labourers in 1989 itself, the bench said the action of the department in keeping them waiting for so long “does not speak well of the state of things.”
“When women employees belonging to the lower strata of society are appointed to do scavenging work on a continuous basis for more than two decades, their case should be considered in a sympathetic manner when permanent recruitment is taking place,” the order said.
After extracting work from them for more than two decades, the department wanted to send them away without giving any benefits.