BBMP civic workers end protest after govt agrees to demands

Minister assures contract workers they will get direct payment and promises to abolish contract system.

The city and municipal corporation civic workers who were on an indefinite strike demanding for regularisation of contract workers and payment of salaries, called off their protest on the second day.

The BBMP Guttige Pourakarmikara Sangha, along with Karnataka Rajya Nagarapalike, Nagarasabhe, Purasabhe Pourakarmikara Mahasangha and the Safaikaramchari Kavalu Samiti had staged an indefinite strike starting June 12th, 2017.

The strike was called off on June 13th , after the Minister for Social Welfare and Backward Classes Welfare H Anjaneya and Minister for Municipalities and Local Bodies Department and Public Enterprises Ishwar Khandre, along with Bengaluru Mayor Padmavathi G, assured of making direct payment to the workers. Over 10,000 contract civic workers from all wards across the city congregated at Bannappa Park over the past two days, according to a press release from the Alternative Law Forum.

During the protest, All India Council of Central Trade Unions (AICCTU) State President and Advocate S Balan said that the civic workers have been bearing the brunt of the corruption that was persistent in the contractual system.

“Contract system is modern day slavery and is merely a ruse to facilitate the daylight loot of the BBMP coffers. All workers belong to the Dalit community and this contract system is nothing but caste atrocity. The contractors confiscate passbooks and ATM cards of the pourakarmikas, and extort them,” he said.

General Secretary of AICCTU and Advocate, Clifton D’ Rozario said that all pourakarmikas must be regularised to eliminate corruption and give the workers dignity in their work. “A contractors’ cartel controls and monopolises the solid waste management contracts illegally enriching themselves at the cost the dalit contract pourakarmikas. The State government has, in May 2016, already passed a cabinet decision to regularise the services of contract pourakarmikas. Given that their regularisation is imminent there is no justification whatsoever for continuing with the contractors. They must be paid directly through the BBMP to ensure regular payment, frequent increments, and other benefits reach the workers on time,” he said.

The law prohibits employment of contract labour for any perennial work and solid waste management is a year-round daily mandatory duty of the State. Recently the Supreme Court directed the regularisation of 2000 contract pourakarmikas in Mumbai. “We are asking for the workers to be made permanent as per the law and directions of the various courts,” said Nirmala, General Secretary of the BBMP Guttige Pourakarmika Sangha.

On the second day of the strike, Ministers Khandre and Anjaneya assured the workers of direct payment through the urban local bodies throughout the state. Minister Khandre said, “The contractual system for civic workers will be abolished. We will call for a meeting on this June 20th to work out the details for its implementation and to decide the process for elimination of contractors,” he stated.

The strike was called-off on the second day in view of these promises. The BBMP Guttige Pourakarmikara Sangha has in the media release welcomed the assurances of the Karnataka State Government and hopes that the government keeps up the promises to provide the workers their rights and dignity.

This press release was issued by the BBMP Guttige Powrakarmikara Sangha on the occasion of the strike which was called for, and shared by Clifton D’Rozario.

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