Patna: Thousands of Patna Municipal Corporation's fourth grade daily wage employees including safai karamcharis (sanitation workers) went on strike on Monday, February 3, to protest against the government’s decision to remove them.
Nearly 5,000 employees of the Corporation staged a protest in front of the office, gheraoed it and shouted slogans against the government decision to remove them, instead of regularising their jobs which had been their demand for a long time.
The employees, which include sanitation workers employed as daily wage workers, also took out marches at different places and threw garbage on roads near markets and residential localities to express their unhappiness.
The agitating workers said that hundreds of them have been working since last 10 years on daily wage basis in the hope that government will regularise their job. "It is an injustice to all of us and attack on our basic rights," Shayam Ram, a protesting worker said.
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Another worker, Nand Kishor Das, said that they have been forced to go on the strike and will continue till their demands are fulfilled. “This government is anti-worker. Fourth grade employees are being treated like animals and neglected. But the fact is that we have been working day and night to keep the city clean and clear the garbage,” he added.
The sanitation workers also said that they are the real players behind the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan but are mostly left in the lurch.
Their strike is likely to hit cleaning works under the Corporation, with the city’s streets already showing signs of dirt and filth scattered and garbage dumped everywhere.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has extended its support to the protesting safai karamcharis and demanded that government should regularise them. "They belong to the poorest of the poor and bottom layer of the society. The government’s action to remove them from daily wage work will push them to starvation-like situation. They deserve care and attention and their old demand to regularise them should be considered by the government," CPI (M) leader Manoj Kumar Chandrawansi told NewsClick.
According to the CPI(M) leader, the Urban Development Department issued a notice ordering their removal from February 1 and not to engage them for daily wage work of cleaning and sweeping by the corporation.
Also read: Indefinite Strike Against Non-payment of Salaries