Municipal workers in Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore district have been protesting for the last eleven days, demanding payment of pending salaries.
According to trade unions, municipal workers in Nellore have not been paid for the past three months. Unions further allege that officials are harassing them using the Real Time Monitoring System (RTMS) for tracking waste collection and are demanding that the system be scrapped.
“The workers are outraged over non-payment of salaries and increased working hours, among other reasons,” said Alladi Gopal, member of Andhra Pradesh Municipal Workers and Employees Federation, affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions. Gopal has been organising the protests in rural and urban areas of Nellore. According to him, the officials are harassing workers by increasing working hours using the RTMS system.
The demands of the workers include an increase in minimum wage to Rs 24,000 per month, scrapping the RTMS system and regularisation of jobs, among others.
K. Uma Maheswara Rao, state general secretary, Andhra Pradesh Municipal Workers and Employees Federation, said that isolated protests were ongoing across the state and that municipal workers will be participating in a state-wide protest on November 2.
“Before the elections, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has promised to regularise jobs of contractual and outsourced municipal staff. But, after coming to power, the Chief Minister has remained silent on the matter,” said Rao. He added that the workers are set to intensify their struggles, saying that over 40,000 workers will be benefited from regularisation.
“While the workers are risking their lives amid COVID-19, they are being harassed by their own officials,” said Rao.
Contractual and outsourced municipal workers in the state have held numerous protests over the last six months, primarily demanding regularisation of their jobs.
“Last month, municipal workers in Kadapa protested as their salaries were delayed for four months. On August 4, municipal and gram panchayat workers held a massive strike across the state demanding job security,” said Rao.