Saadia Peerzada, UG 22 As India went into lockdown, the Ashoka University campus started functioning at
Overworked staff can be one of the perils of a young institution, still finding its ground. Ashoka, it seems, was no different. For a few years now, some support staff had reportedly been working for upto 12 hours per day. As per the Factories Act of 1948, no adult can work for more than 48 hours per week and 9 hours per day. While they were compensated for the same, their work hours were in direct violation of the legally mandated limits. This was a source of distress for a lot of workers, and some students had even approached the administration about the same. This change has now been brought about in the spring semester of 2019.
After long deliberation, the administration has finally decided to reduce these work hours to 8 hours per day. We spoke to Mr Chandan Sharma from the administration to get a better understanding of this logistical rearrangement. Addressing the reason behind the change, Mr Sharma stressed the importance of complying with government regulations and stated that this had been the most important reason behind this change. It was also heartening to know that the salaries of the support staff will not be affected in any way due to this change.
“Our teams are like extended family to us, and once we have fixed a salary for them, it would be going against the Ashokan ethic to reduce that salary. They are more than just a team of workers sent by some vendors — they are people, that matter,” he said.
When asked about the potential losses facing Ashoka due to these reduced work times, we were told that while Ashoka would have to bear this additional expense for a few months, members of the administration have already begun work on managing the revised costs and working out a more efficient plan for the future. Hiring more support staff would have to be factored in as and when it happens, but that doesn’t seem to be a pressing issue at the moment. While the workforce has not been increased at the time of publishing this article, members of the administration have stated that there are ongoing talks about the same; as of now, an increasingly efficient management of resources will have to do.