New Delhi: Delhi Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union (DAWHU), one among the multiple unions of the all-women workforce in the national capital, submitted a memorandum to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government on Wednesday to press for immediate resolution of demands over which an "in-principle approval” was given in the talks held earlier.
“It is to be known that in the talks held [earlier last month] on February 21 at Delhi Secretariat on the demands of Anganwadi workers and helpers, you (the ministerial delegation) had given your consent to most of our demands mentioned in the memorandum. After the talks, we were hopeful that our demands would be resolved," the Centre of Indian Trade Unions–led union said in Hindi in its memorandum.
The union added that it is "only natural" for the caregivers to then "get angry," since till now, no notification from the department has been issued as yet.
After the first round of talks headed by Women and Child Development Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam last month, DAWHU had stated that despite an "in-principle approval", the AAP government denied providing any written assurance.
On Wednesday, the CITU-led union also led a protest march to Delhi Secretariat, which was not allowed by the Delhi Police. "The AAP government had given in-principle approval to 15 of the 17 of our demands and had demanded one week time for further considerations. However, till now, we have heard nothing on it," said Kamla, general secretary, DAWHU, on Wednesday.
She added that her union is demanding further talks with the AAP government. “We want to know what progress has been made on our demands,” she said.
Last month, coming under pressure from the Anganwadi workers and helpers who have been on an indefinite strike in the national capital, the Delhi government had announced that they had increased the honorarium of Anganwadi workers and helpers to Rs. 12,720 and Rs. 6,810 respectively.
There are over 10,000 government-run daycare centres under the ICDS-administered Anganwadi scheme. With a total strength of 22,000 Anganwadi caregivers, caters to over one lakh children and women in Delhi.
In Delhi, Anganwadi workers and helpers, while bereft of "employee" status, are entitled to Rs 9,698 and Rs 4,839, respectively.
“Our demand was to implement the minimum wage. But you announced an increase in honorarium of only 40.73% in the case of a helper and 31.43% in that of an Anganwadi worker," DAWHU said in its memorandum on Wednesday. It added that the claim made by the Delhi Government that the honorarium of Anganwadi workers and helpers is the highest in the country is also not true.
Meanwhile, Wednesday also marks the 31st day of the demonstration by striking Anganwadi workers and helpers led by another union, Delhi State Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union (DSAWHU), near the residence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The DSAWHU did not take part in the talks with the government reportedly because of the involvement of the CITU-led union, which they claimed: "has not been part of the strike."
Protesting caregivers, led by DSAWHU, have also intensified their strike by launching protests outside the headquarters of the WCD Department at ISBT Kashmere Gate. They demand the government to withdraw an order issued last week warning them of disciplinary action if they did not join work, according to a report published in The Hindu.