Two women have applied to the Guinness World Records for the lowest salary in the world
PUBLISHED:11:24 EST, 22 October 2012| UPDATED:12:59 EST, 22 October 2012
For more than 40 years they’ve toiled away, meticulously scrubbing and cleaning toilets in southern India
However, astonishingly, two dedicated cleaners in India have only £64 EACH to show for their four decades of working their fingers to the bone.
Akku and Leela Sherigar have earned an average of 180 rupees – or £2 – a year. And for the last 11 years the have worked for free following a dispute with their employer.
Record breakers? Akku and Leela Sherigar, both 59, have applied to the Guinness World Records for the lowest salary ever paid
The two women, both aged 59, started working as toilet cleaners for the Government’s Women Teacher’s Training Institute, in South India, in 1971, for 15 Rupees (18p) a month as fresh-faced 18-year-olds.
But they’ve not had a pay rise ever since, even though they have never missed a day’s work.
Even though they are angry, they’ve now applied to the Guinness Book of World Records for the title of the lowest salary in the world.
Akku said: ‘We were promised a pay rise every year but it never came. We trusted our employers that eventually they’d pay us. We never believed it’d come to this.
Dedicated: The two women started working as toilet cleaners in South India, in 1971, for 15 Rupees (18p) a month
‘We take pride in our work; we couldn’t give it up. We have always hoped that we would get what we were promised.’
In 2001, they finally had enough and complained to the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal, in Udupi, near Goa, in southwest India.
Then, their wages stopped altogether with no mention of any reimbursement.
But the dedicated women still went into work cleaning 21 toilets, three times a day, seven days a week.
And for the last 11 years, they have worked for free.
Ravindranath Shanbhag, president of the Human Rights Protection Foundation, in Udupi, has been helping the women take their case to the Supreme Court of India.
However, even though the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal ordered the government to pay out, in 2003, nothing was given to the women.
And even after the same decision from the High Court of Karnataka, in 2004, and the Supreme Court, in 2010, concluded the government should pay out, they are yet to do so.
With the help of the Indian press and local support Akku and Leela are now praying they’ll get what they’re deserved, plus interest, before they can happily retire next year.
‘All we want is what is due to us, what our hard work through the past 42 years deserves,’ Akku added.
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