BENGALURU: Civic workers across Karnataka launched an indefinite strike starting on Friday demanding regularisation of their services.
The municipal workers gathered at Freedom Park in Bengaluru on Friday morning and staged their agitation. The pourakarmikas are demanding dignified working conditions, provision of safety equipment, post-retirement benefits and permanency of jobs, along with other welfare measures. They alleged that the issues have been consistently ignored by the state government.
The protest is being organised by the Pourakarmikara Sanghatanegala Janti Horata Samiti, of which Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Powrakarmikara Sangha is a co-organiser.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders also joined the pourakarmikas who are protesting at Freedom Park demanding redressal of their problems.
Speaking to reporters, Karnataka AAP president Prithvi Reddy said, “AAP in Delhi and Punjab has encouraged pourakarmikas to participate in the elections and win. This has given political strength to the sentiments of pourakarmikas. However, in Karnataka, BJP has turned blind to the problems and pains of pourakarmikas. The BJP government is stubborn by not responding to their repeated protests.”
The AAP leader said the state government must provide safety shields, retirement facilities, equal pay for equal work, gratuity, maternity allowance and holidays for pourakarmikas. “Direct job recruitment must be done. Wherever necessary, toilets must be built. If holidays are not provided, additional payment should be made for extra work done. The government must at least now work on fulfilling the demands of pourakarmikas,” Reddy said.
AAP state vice-president Bhaskar Rao said that protesting pourakarmikas have complete support from the party. He demanded that the jobs of pourakarmikas must be made permanent.
“If pourakarmikas refuse to work even for a single day, waste disposal problem will worsen and people will have to close their noses. Sanitation workers, including cleaners and sweepers, are paid meagre salaries. They are unable to meet their basic needs with this salary. So, their jobs must be made permanent,” said Rao.
In 2017, he said the Siddaramaiah government had proposed in the cabinet to regularise pourakarmikas, which was approved, but failed to implement it. None of the subsequent governments paid any attention to it.
“Under the Special Recruitment Rules 2017, only those who clean roads were treated as pourakarmikas. Sewage cleaning workers, garbage collectors, garbage truck drivers, garbage loaders and helpers are working on a contract basis. Government facilities must be made available to them,” Bhaskar Rao stressed. (ANI)