UP Dial 112 Workers Suspend Strike After Akhilesh Promises to Raise Issue in Assembly
Image caption: special arrangement
Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh’s(UP) Dial 112 six-day strike at Lucknow’s Eco Garden demanding pay hike and job security has been suspended after Samajwadi Party (SP) president and former chief minister (CM) Akhilesh Yadav assured them of raising their demands in the Assembly.
The protesting contractual workers were invited to Yadav’s residence on Diwali,where party MP Dimple Yadav joined them and assured that her party would try to get the FIR quashed.
“On Diwali evening, we got a call from Akhilesh Yadav, who had been supporting our cause since day one, to come to his house and celebrate the festival. Both Akhilesh Yadav and his wife Dimple Yadav promised us that they would raise our issue in the Assembly and asked us to end the strike for a few days,” Priya Tiwari, a protestor, told NewsClick.
The future of around 700 workers is uncertain as the new company, We Win, started fresh hiring and didn’t ask the protesting women to resume work.
“We got to know from sources that We Win company started fresh hiring. It’s clear they don’t need us. But, at least, they should inform us whether they will retain us and increase our salaries. Secret hiring exposes their intention,” said another worker.
Meanwhile, women protesters also accused the UP Police of ‘harassing their family members’ and mounting pressure to end the strike.
“There was a lot of pressure on our families to end the protest. The police reached everyone’s hometown and inquired about us. They even threatened our parents and asked them to convey to us about ending the protest and returning home,” Tiwari alleged.
“During the strike at Eco Garden, the police disconnected the electricity supply, locked the washroom and took away our blankets,” she further alleged.“Therefore, we decided to suspend our protest for a few days. None of us would join work till our demands are met.”
Yadav pledged to raise their demands on the first day of the Assembly session by asking why the BJP government “destroyed” the programme. He called the government “emotionless, heartless and visionless”.
Supporting the demands of women employees, Yadav posted on X, “We will raise the demand on the very first day of the Assembly session. Our first question would be why did the BJP destroy Dial 112?It is taking advantage of poverty. The women working in Dial 112 are being threatened with sacking. Sisters and daughters are being harassed during festive days.”
“Does the government not have enough budget to increase the salary of women who help the people of the state by Rs 3,000?” he asked.
Elaborating on the protests of the women working in Dial 112, SP chief spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said, “During the 2022 UP Assembly election, the BJP had promised to raise the salary of these women by Rs 3,000. However, that promise was unfulfilled.”
Yadav said that if the SP is voted to power, it will increase their salary by Rs 6,000.
Contractual women employees of emergency services have been demanding an increase in the take-home salary from Rs 11,800 to Rs 18,000,two paid leaves a month, job security, gratuity and provident fund.
Earlier, the Lucknow Police had registered an FIR against five women and 150 unidentified women under Sections 147 (rioting), 283 (danger or obstruction), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the IPCon November 8, a day after they marched to the CM’s residence. The police dispersed the protestors saying Section 144 of the CrPC was in place in the state capital.
The second FIR was registered against the workers by the police under various sections of the IPC at Sushant Golf City police Station on Wednesday evening. It was based on a complaint by We Win project director Syed Ahmed, who alleged that work was affected by the strike.
Anger started brewing on November 3 when the police’s contract with Tech Mahindra for managing call centres in the state ended. We Win won the new contract but didn’t provide appointment letters to the employees, leading to the protest.
The workers are frustrated over potential job loss due to change in the outsourcing company. The protest continued even after ADG UP 112 Ashok Singh assured the protesters that they would not lose their jobs.
We Win had agreed to increase the monthly salary to Rs 15,000, according to the police, but the protesting women said they would not resume work until they get a written assurance of Rs 18,000 salary and fulfilment of other demands.
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