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PSM wants Education Ministry to compensate 12,000 contract workers

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PSM wants the Education Ministry to compensate some 12,000 contract workers who lost their jobs due to a reduction in the budget for contract services.

The party's central committee member R Mohanarani also rubbished the Education Ministry's explanation that it was not responsible for these workers, as their contracts were not renewed by the private companies employing them.

"Indeed, under the contact system, the hiring of workers is subcontracted to (private) contractors... But matters such as the number of workers needed at a premise, salary and number of shifts are set by the Education Ministry.

"If under the contract, the Education Ministry asks for four workers instead of the initial six, then two others would lose their job.

"Would this then be the fault of the contractors or the Education Ministry?" she asked in a statement today.

According to Mohanarani, the three-year contracts of these workers are normally renewed.

However, with the ministry now asking for fewer workers from private contractors, many who are from the poorest rungs of society have not had their contracts renewed.

Mohanarani said the contract system practised by the Education Ministry is by nature unfair, as those hired can have their contracts terminated without any safeguards in place.

"The contract system used for permanent tasks helps reduce the cost for the government, but is oppressive towards workers."

Workers whose contracts were not renewed, Mohanarani added, have now found themselves jobless with bills to pay.

"Therefore, the Education Ministry should allocate compensation for workers who will lose their jobs," she stressed.

Apart from the 12,000 security guards affected, Mohanarani said a further 12,000 cleaners did not have their contracts renewed.

The Education Ministry had said that the workers' contracts expired and were retendered based on its "latest needs."

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