Andhra’s Municipal Workers Indefinite Strike Successful
Andhra Pradesh Municipal workers called off their indefinite strike on Friday, December 22, after the state government led by principal secretary R.Karikal Valaven assured the leaders of workers unions to meet their demands.
For the last four days from December 18, the municipal workers organized as A.P. Municipal Workers and Employees Federation have led various forms of resistance such as rallies, dharnas demanding for their job security and wage protection rights. CITU, IFTU, YSRTU are among the unions which led the strike while AITUC and INTUC which were earlier part of the struggle have dropped out.
Among the sixteen demands presented to the government, the main demands are withdrawal of G.O. 279, increase in minimum wages, increase in engineering workers wages as par with skilled and semi-skilled workers, regularization of the positions of contractual and outsourced workers, assurance of General Providential Fund (GPF), Health cards for permanent workers.
As per sources, the government officials held a meeting with the representatives of municipal workers in Amaravathi secretariat. The negotiations came fruitful as the officials agreed to most of the demands and gave a written assurance. Accordingly, the minimum wage for the unskilled workers has been increased to Rs 12000 from Rs 8000. However, the officials did not agree on the withdrawal of the G.O. 279 but said Municipal commissioners will act as supervisors for its proper implementation.
CITU leader Uma Maheswara Rao said that the municipal workers have been deprived of their rights in the state. “These longstanding demands of the municipal workers have been kept aside by the Telugu Desam Party government since it came to power,” Maheswara Rao said.
“Though Chief Minister N Chandra Babu Naidu assured to take up the issues of municipal workers in 2015 after a 16-day strike led by all the workers unions, his government came up with G O 279. Accordingly, work outsourcing system was brought in which further threatened the job security of outsourced and contractual workers,” he said to Newsclick.
Maheswara Rao said that all workers unions in the state will meet and decide on the further action regarding G.O. 279.
On 31 December 2015, Andhra Pradesh government issued the Government Order (G.O.) 279 stipulating rules and guidelines for the management of Swachh Andhra Corporation.
It is estimated that about 85 percent of the municipal workers in the state belong to marginalised sections (SC/ST/OBC). There are 110 Urban Local Bodies comprising of 13 Municipal Corporations, 72 Municipalities of different grades and 25 Nagar Panchayats consisting of about 40000 workers of all grades.
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