Life in Gurgaon

Sanitation workers in Gurugram plan to escalate protest in the first week of October

Source: Hindustan Times

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An association of sanitation workers said, on Tuesday, that about 3,000 members would launch a strike and bring out a march between October 1 and 5, if their demands were not met by the Haryana government by the end of this month.

There are around 3,500 to 3,600 sanitation workers in the city.

One of the main workers’ body participating in the strike is Sarv Karamchari Sangh, Haryana. Around 1,200 unions as a part of this organisation.

At least 21 sanitation workers went on a five-day hunger strike, which ended on Tuesday, to demand a hike in their monthly sanitation allowance from Rs 325 to Rs 1,000, discontinuation of the practice of hiring private contractors, raising the monthly wage to Rs 15,000, introducing a pension scheme, and regularising contractual employees. But no government or agency official approached them.

Workers said that the government had assured them on May 24 this year, after a 15-day strike, that these demands would be met. “None of our demands have been met even after four months. We will launch a massive strike on the evening of October 1, with 3,000 workers, including Municipal Corporation of Gurugram’s (MCG) sanitation staff, contractual workers, employees of Ecogreen and those of the fire department. We will take out a march with torches and flags, across Haryana,” said Naresh Kumar Malkat, secretary of Nagar Palika Karamchari Sangh, Haryana.

“We will not carry out our duties from October 3 to 5, but will work on the anniversary of Swachhta Abhiyaan on 2nd October,” said Malkat.

“The contractual workers with the fire department will be joining the strike as well, as they also demand regularisation of contractual employees,” said Satyawan Samriwal, fire safety officer, Sector 29.

However, Ecogreen Energy, concessionaire for waste collection and waste management, denied that their sanitation workers would take part in the upcoming strike.

In May, after a 15-day strike by sanitation workers, garbage piled up and spilled on the streets of the city, causing inconvenience to residents. At that time, the sanitation workers of Ecogreen had also joined in the strike, said Malkat. Ecogreen officials refuted this piece of information, claiming that their workers did not join the strike, but were forced to stop working at many places.

“The sanitation workers’ strike is a matter of the state government, and not the municipalities of Gurugram, although we have provided jackets, boots, masks and gloves to these workers, with a view to improve their working conditions,” said Ambika Parshad Sharma, chief sanitary inspector, MCG.

MCG officials had assured workers that they would provide them with masks, gloves, boots, jackets, among many other benefits, after the death of four workers on September 9 while cleaning a sewage treatment plant in Moti Nagar in New Delhi.

In April, MCG commissioner, Yashpal Yadav called a meeting with sanitation workers, after a large group of workers gathered outside the MCG office in Sector 34 to protest against the deplorable working conditions.