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Haryana: Anganwadi Caregivers to Protest Across State as Khattar Govt. Fails to Reinstate Terminated Women

The call to demonstrate has been given by CITU–affiliated Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union (AWHU). The union has alleged that the Manohar Lal Khattar–led state government has not fulfilled the demands, even as two months have passed since they were agreed upon.
Haryana: Anganwadi Caregivers to Protest Across State as Khattar Govt. Fails to Reinstate Terminated Women

Image Courtesy:Peoples Democracy

New Delhi: Perturbed over unfulfilled demands, Anganwadi workers and helpers in Haryana, who emerged victorious after a four-month statewide strike earlier this year, will be protesting across all the districts in the state for three days, starting from Wednesday.

The call to demonstrate has been given by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU)–affiliated Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union (AWHU).

The union has alleged that the Manohar Lal Khattar–led state government has not fulfilled the demands, even as two months have passed since they were agreed upon.

Around 974 Anganwadi workers and helpers, who participated in the work strike, were terminated in the state earlier this year during the strike action, Surekha, state president, CITU-Haryana, told NewsClick in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

The strike was called off on April 5 after a delegation of the state coordination committee of Anganwadi workers and helpers, the umbrella group spearheading the all-women workforce’s strike in Haryana, met with the officials of the state’s Women and Child Department (WCD).

“At the time, it was agreed upon by the Haryana government that all the terminated workers and helpers would be reinstated. However, the process to do so hasn’t begun yet,” Surekha alleged.

NewsClick earlier reported on the “consensus” that was reached between the parties on the demands that “will be implemented” by the Haryana government in the coming days.

Out of the 19-point demand charter of the striking workers and helpers, 15 were “accepted” by the government, NewsClick was then informed.

These included a retirement benefit worth Rs 1,00,000 and Rs 50,000 to Anganwadi workers and helpers, respectively; an increment in the honorarium, which amounts to Rs 850 for the workers, Rs 762 for the mine workers, and Rs. 736 for the helpers. The Khattar government had also agreed to increase this honorarium yearly by introducing a dearness allowance (DA) component.

However, Surekha alleged on Tuesday that only an increment in the honorarium had been materialised as yet. Notably, many of the above measures were announced by the Khattar government itself in December last year in a bid to end the strike earlier.

Multiple calls made to Haryana’s WCD officials for comment went answered. An email, along with a questionnaire, also did not elicit any response.

“The Khattar government hasn’t even paid the Anganwadi workers and helpers for the strike period,” Surekha claimed. This is even as the workers and helpers are now being “pressurised” to complete the work that was pending for these many months, according to her.

According to government estimates, there are 26,000 Anganwadi centres in 22 districts across Haryana.

At these centres, thousands of Anganwadi caregivers were on strike since December 8 last year to press the Khattar-led state government to accept their demands, including, above all, an increase in their monthly honorarium, as promised by the Central government in 2018.

Importantly, this demand is yet to be even agreed upon by the state government.

Earlier last month, the CITU had also approached International Labour Organisation (ILO) against the terminations of Anganwadi workers and helpers in Haryana and Delhi during strike action. Following their indefinite strike in the national capital, 991 caregivers have been terminated from their jobs, the AAP government submitted in the Delhi High Court earlier.

“They have denied discussion with the respective trade unions in violation of the principle of tripartite consultation. They have imposed Acts which are not relevant to this section of workers. They have terminated the workers without following the principle of natural justice. They have pushed the workers to poverty and starvation by not paying wages for months together,” The Hindu quoted Tapan Sen, national general secretary, CITU, as saying in his complaint to ILO.

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