Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

Street Light Workers of Lucknow Municipality on Strike After no Salary for 6 Months

Abdul Alim Jafri |
Nearly 400 contractual employees were facing a financial crunch as their salaries have seen inordinate delay even though they get paid much less than regular workers.
Street Light Workers of Lucknow Municipality on Strike After no Salary for 6 Months

Photo by Special Arrangement.

Lucknow: Hundreds of contractual street light workers employed in the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) have gone on strike as their demands have not been met, and their salaries have been delayed. They have not been paid their monthly honorarium for the last six months, which has virtually left them on the verge of starvation.

The agitated employees gathered and created a ruckus at the main gate of the municipal office zone 6. They raised slogans against the administration and said officials were given a reminder about the salary but to no avail.

The street light workers said they have been asking the Municipal Corporation and ECL, an agency that looks after lighting maintenance in the state capital, for salaries for many months. But the authorities have not taken their plea seriously, forcing them to go on a pen-down strike.

The nature of the job includes maintaining/operating fountains, main switch on/off of street lights where it is a manual function, street light maintenance, operating generators, etc.

A letter was also handed over to the Lucknow Municipal Corporation Authority, asking them to pay heed towards the workers’ plight and release their salary immediately. 

Street Light Workers of Lucknow Municipality on Strike After no Salary for 6 Months

Letter to the Lucknow Municipal Corporation.

Sanjay Sahu, a potter (helper) deputed in zone 6 who was leading the protest, told NewsClick that outsourced employees have to face massive cuts in their already less salaries, as a part of it goes into commission to the agencies which employ them. “Such practices also lead to an increased amount of work pressure on an individual worker. We don’t get a leave on Sunday even if we have emergencies, and if someone asks for a leave, we are asked not to come to work the next day.”

Though the risk that is involved in the job is equal, the outsourced and contractual employees are often deprived of any medical insurance or other benefits that are enjoyed by the permanent workers. “We have not been paid our salary for six months, and no amount has been transferred into the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account from the 21 months,” Sahu claimed. 

“Whenever the Prime Minister, Home Minister, President or any VVIP comes to Lucknow, we are asked for 24 hours work until they leave the city, but we are never paid for the extra work. The irony is that we have been protesting for our monthly salary leave payment for extra work,” Sandeep Dubey, another worker of zone 2 told NewsClick

Shashi Kumar Mishra, state president of Uttar Pradesh Sthaniya Nikay Karmachari Mahasangh told NewsClick, “There are eight zones and 110 wards come under Lucknow. Around four hundred contractual workers look after the maintenance of street lights and are paid Rs 7,500 to Rs 8,000 per month. They were paid last in July, and since then, they have been running from pillar to post for their monthly salary,” he said, adding that both LMC and ECL blamed each other for not releasing funds. 

He said nearly 400 contractual employees were facing a financial crunch. 

When asked about the delay and the reason behind it, Mishra said, “The number of workers employed by the agency is less than what has been decided as per the tender, resulting in an outrageous amount of corruption and a delay in the salary." He added, "However, both sanitation and street light maintenance work demand a permanent job but the government is outsourcing everything despite the job description of these workers being similar to that of a permanent worker." 

Mishra complained that despite doing similar work to permanent workers, the contractual workers do not get the same salaries, and there are no provisions for social benefits for outsourced and contractual workers. 

"No one can fix street light maintenance in a day, just as cleaning of the city cannot be done in a day; for this, a proper workforce is required, and ground work which just any outsourcing agency cannot do. If the situation remains the same, the blame game between the municipality and the agency will continue, and its contractual workers will face the warpath,” he said. 

Accusing the state government of “negligence”, the union leader further said that when the government handed over the lightning department to the agency, they did not determine how many workers were needed or how many operators they required for maintenance work.

“ECL claims that when they had taken the contract, then the Municipal Corporation said only 2,000 points had to be monitored, but since Municipal Corporation’s area has increased, wards have increased, and its obvious points will increase. This is the reason for the tussle between them,” he said.

The agitating workers said they had been demanding the regularisation of their services by releasing their appointment letters as the municipal council workers at present were workers of a private company. 

Meanwhile, more than 3,000 lights in all six zones have been damaged, and it is not fixed due to the absence of “fund”. Recently, the councillors of the Municipal Corporation have created a ruckus in the House regarding this.

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram