Suraiya* (name changed) is 19 now. Last year when she turned 18, she decided to go to Punjab and work at a cloth mill there. As the nature of this kind of work goes, she has to stay in Punjab for 5 months, and the rest of the year she spends at her home with her family in North 24 Parganas, in West Bengal. Since she was rescued and returned home a few years back, social workers of the organization TISM were supporting her, and they supported her in her going for work as well.
She is a very dedicated employee, loves her work and hardly misses work or takes leaves. In May 2019, After completion of her 7th month’s work she went to receive her salary happily and she found out that her salary was deducted for 3 days and the reason, as cited by the manager, was that she had taken leaves that month. She was shocked as she had not taken any leave on that particular month. She tried to explain but then no one listened to her. She came back with a broken heart and lots of anger. She recalled her days when she went many times to the BDO office for GR and came back empty handed and she also recalled how she received the GR. Next morning she got up and drafted a complaint letter in Bengali addressing the manager that she had not taken any leave, still her salary was deducted and no one listened to her objections and she put that letter on the manager’s table. Manager was a Punjabi person who couldn’t read the language, so didn’t understand the content of her letter.But a written application from a worker on his table was enough to surprise him. Manager called her, listened to her concerns and released the deducted amount to her. Suraiya called up her Social worker next day to thank her, because once the Social worker had held her hand and had taught her how to write an application – how to use the power of the pen!