Stalemate at SVNIT, Surat: Employee protests see no end

Employees hold placards during the protest at SVNIT, Surat

The employee association at Sardar Vallabhbhai Institute of Technology (SVNIT), Surat, has been organising dharnas during their recess time since January 24. The employees carry out rallies in the campus and hold placards displaying their demands in front of the administrative building. 300 employees of the institute shout slogans everyday, in order to have their demands of minimum wages fulfilled by the SVNIT management. 

“The institute isn’t paying its employees minimum wages. In addition to this, we are deprived of basic benefits like provident fund, employee identity card, scheduled leaves, post-retirement benefits, etc. It’s been almost a month since the protests, but we’ve received no response from the management yet,” said Ramesh Sarasia, President of the employee association. He also claimed that the association has complained to several authorities ranging from the regional labour officers to the Ministry of HRD, but to no avail.

 When PaGaLGuY spoke to Dr. Vakharia, Registrar of SVNIT, he explained, “Our institute was converted from a Regional Engineering College (REC) into SVNIT in 2002. Employee benefits are provided to the workers according to the rules laid by the State Government. However, employees are demanding benefits applicable as per the rules of the Central Government, which has a higher minimum pay.” He denied the institute’s role in repudiating the employees of their benefits. “This is a policy matter, which is the lookout of the MHRD,” he added.

“As of now, the protests don’t disrupt student activities as they are held at a fair distance from the academic building of the campus,” said Raushan Kumar, a second year Electric Engineering student at SVNIT. However, sighting a cold response from the management, Sarasia has threatened an employee strike. “To ensure that our actions do not affect the students’ academics, we do not protest during the lectures. However, we’re planning to go on an employee strike if our demands are not promptly met with,” said he.

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