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Haryana: Anganwadi Workers to Continue Strike After Talks ‘Failed’ yet Again

Ronak Chhabra |
Thousands of Anganwadi workers and helpers have been on strike since December 8 last year; the unions representing them have now called for a mahapanchayat in Haryana’s Kalayat city on March 19.
Haryana: Anganwadi Workers to Continue Strike After Talks ‘Failed’ yet Again

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New Delhi: The unions representing striking Anganwadi workers and helpers in Haryana said that their strike action will continue after talks between their delegation and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government failed to end the stalemate on Saturday.

“The unions were invited for a talk in Chandigarh on Saturday,” Surekha, state president, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) - Haryana told Newsclick in a telephone interview. She added that both sides, however, failed to reach a breakthrough because the government “refused to withdraw the termination orders.”

Thousands of Anganwadi caregivers have been on strike since December 8 last year to press the Manohar Lal Khattar-led state government to accept their demands including, among others, an increase in their monthly honorarium; the increment was promised to them by the central government in 2018.

Saturday’s talk was the seventh round of negotiations between both the sides that failed to end the strike action.

The all-women workforce in the state are led by a Joint Action Committee of unions, which is comprised of the CITU-backed Haryana Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union (HAWHU) and the All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC)-backed Anganwadi Karyakarta Sahayika Union (AKSU).

Over the strike period, the unions have alleged that the state government has resorted to “punishing” the striking Anganwadi workers and helpers and has, till now, terminated over 300 caregivers across numerous districts in Haryana.

Earlier last week, hundreds of Anganwadi caregivers were detained, while at least one of the union members was hospitalised after the women’s foot march was prevented by the state police from reaching Chandigarh ahead of a proposed protest outside the State Assembly.

On Saturday, Surekha of CITU told Newsclick that the unions will “go ahead with their plan,” to organise a mahapanchayat on March 19 in Haryana’s Kalayat city. It was chosen as a venue for demonstration since it is the constituency from where Kamlesh Dhanda, Minister of Women and Child Development, had won in 2019 assembly elections.

The mahapanchayat will see participation from farmer leaders including the SKM (Samyukt Kisan Morcha), and other students’ and women’s organisations in the state,” Surekha claimed, adding that further decision on continuation of the strike action will be taken after it.

SKM is the umbrella group of farmers from across the country that spearheaded the sit-in protest by cultivators at the borders of the national capital earlier last year. The protests eventually forced the Narendra Modi-led central government to withdraw three of its reform-oriented farm legislations.

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