Civic strike called off but sanitation workers still unrelenting

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 06, 2016 23:14 IST
MCD workers stage a protest demanding payment of their salaries at Boat Club in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

Teachers and engineers of Delhi’s three civic bodies ended their strike on Saturday but the city’s woes appeared far from over as sanitation workers vowed to continue their agitation which has seen mounds of garbage pile up by the capital’s streets.

The decision came a day after doctors had called off their agitation launched on January 27 by workers of the north and east municipal corporations to protest non-payment of salaries. Workers of south corporation later joined the agitation in a show of solidarity.

The agitation has turned into a major face-off between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and the BJP-ruled civic bodies over the issue of funds. While the civic bodies have accused the state government of releasing less funds, the government had blamed corruption civic bodies as the reason for the fund crisis.

Sources said that five of the 30 unions of municipal workers are now ready to get back to work. Classes in nearly 1,800 municipal schools will also resume on Monday after the teachers agreed to rejoin duty.

“Our main demand was payment of our salaries, which has been assured by the commissioner. Also, the L-G has assured us about constitution of a committee to look into re-unification of the corporations,” said Ram Niwas Solanki, general secretary, Municipal Corporation Teachers’ Association.

Officials said the commissioners of north and east civic bodies have directed the zonal deputy commissioners and heads of department to ensure that their staff rejoins duty as salaries have been disbursed.

A list of the employees not performing their duties will be forwarded by the officials to the additional commissioner (labour) so that it could be submitted before the high court, the officials said.

The Delhi high court, while hearing a PIL for calling off the strike on Friday, had sought responses from the corporations and the workers’ unions in the matter. All 30 unions’ representatives have to be present for the hearing.

The striking sanitation workers, however, condemned the decision by several unions to withdraw the strike and claimed that they were under political pressure to give up.

“It has come to our notice that several associations have called off the strike. But we have received support from several members of those associations claiming that their office-bearers have been motivated due to personal reasons. We will continue to protest and even appear before the high court on Monday to put forward our problems,” said Rajesh Mishra, president, United Front of MCD Employees.

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