Seeking their long-pending demands, cooks working under the midday meal in different government schools across the state will hold a state-level protest in Bathinda on February 24.
Giving the information, Mandeep Kaur, general secretary of the Democratic Midday Meal Cook Front, said both state and central governments had failed to meet their long-pending demands, especially of increasing the salaries of cooks.
She said even though both the governments claimed to provide better facilities to the working class, their repeated representations to leaders of top political parties seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.
"The government had decided to increase our pay from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,200 from December 2011, but the department gave us the amended pay from April 2012. The department failed to pay our dues of four months despite repeated representations," she said.
The union has been demanding that the Centre include the issue of increasing their salaries in the forthcoming budget session.
She said cooks across the state were paid very less as compared to their working hours; besides, school principals asked them to handle other work too.
Besides seeking a hike in salaries and the pending dues, the cooks demanded that the state government roll back its decision to start midday meal scheme on contract basis in all government schools falling under corporations, including Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala, Moga, Bathinda, SAS Nagar and Ludhiana, to pay them as per pay norms of skilled workers, regularise their jobs, provide them life insurance, provide inflation allowance, besides providing proper facilities in the kitchen and to give medical allowance in case of an untoward incident during working hours.