Wednesday, October 3, 2018

East Delhi sanitation workers refuse to end strike until their demands are met

The demands of sanitation workers of east Delhi, who have been on strike since September 11, include regularisation of about 3,000 contractual workers who were enrolled after 1998, regular payment of salaries and clearance of dues.

As the city observed the fourth anniversary of the Swacchh Bharat Abhiyan on October 2, the streets of east Delhi were strewn with garbage, lying on the roads since the past 22 days due to a strike by sanitation workers of the east Delhi municipal corporation (EDMC), which began on September 11.
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The workers have refused to return to work until their demands are fulfilled by the corporation. The demands include regularisation of about 3,000 contractual workers who were enrolled after 1998, regular payment of salaries and clearance of dues.
Earlier, the striking workers had taken the matter to EDMC commissioner Ranbir Singh but did not get relief as the commissioner refused to regularise these workers, citing that it will add a burden of about Rs 1,500 crore on the cash-strapped municipal corporation.
The BJP-ruled EDMC opposed the commissioner’s decision and called a special house meeting for his impeachment on Monday. However, prior to the meeting, the EDMC commissioner went on leave.
The sanitation workers have decided to continue their strike.
“We never wanted the commissioner to get a transfer or face an impeachment order. We will continue our strike unless we get a solution. The agitating workers will not sweep roads, pick up garbage and gather outside the EDMC headquarters on Wednesday,” said Sanjay Gehlot, president of the MCD Swachhata Karmchari Union (MCDSKU).
Residents, meanwhile, said they want the civic agency to make temporary arrangements to end the mess. “The streets are stinking and garbage is all over the place. To end the nuisance, at least some temporary arrangement for lifting garbage should be made,” BS Vohra, a resident of Krishna Nagar, said.
In last three and half years, sanitation workers of the EDMC have struck work six times for non-payment of salaries, arrears, cashless insurance and other demands.
Gehlot said that though the Union government is spending crores of rupees in the name of “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”, no one was bothered about the plight of the sanitation employees who work in very unhygienic conditions.
“We didn’t participate in the cleanliness drive to mark Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on October 2,” said Sanjit Chandel, president of the Delhi Pradesh Safai Mazdoor Union.
EDMC generates about 2,600 tonnes of waste every day. “Due to the strike, we are able to lift 1800-2000 tonne of garbage from dhalaos. But no arrangement could be made for lifting garbage from roads,” said a senior official from the department of environment management services.
with thanks: HT: Link

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