Just 12 hours after they called off their three-day strike, sanitation worker unions rolled back the decision and resumed the stir, accusing the Delhi government of misleading them.
The workers threatened to carry out massive protests during the festive season and dump garbage on the streets if their demands were not met.
“We had met Delhi minister Sandeep Kumar and Dilip Pandey (Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson) on Sunday and they had assured that funds for salary and arrears will be released within a week. But in the official statement, they have retracted claiming that municipal funds will be released in December,” said Sanjay Gehlot, president, Swatantra Majdoor Vikas Sayunkt Morcha.
Rajinder Mewati, general secretary of United Front of MCD Employees, echoed the view. “If the government doesn’t want the city to turn into a pile of garbage, it must pay us our money,” he said.
Delhi government officials said they had reached a consensus with the protestors on Sunday, and the continuation of the strike suggested political motives.
“These union leaders had agreed with the Delhi government and called off the strike. Assurance was given that money will be released and attempts are being made to again contact them,” said a Delhi government official.
The national capital had witnessed a similar strike in June which left the city choking over piles of garbage.
Delhi’s poor Swachh Bharat rankings, wherein the municipal corporation governed area had ranked 398 out of 476 cities, was attributed to the strike.
Meanwhile corporation heads said that attempts were on to avert such a situation during the festival season.
“We are currently talking to the union leaders and the workers, and are trying to persuade them into calling off the strike. We have also approached the Delhi government asking them to release our funds so that arrear payments can be made to the workers,” said EDMC mayor Harshdeep Malhotra.
North MCD commissioner Praveen Kumar Gupta also asserted that the situation was under control and that efforts were on to ensure the city’s sanitation conditions are not affected.