Bowing to the pressure from sanitation workers, the local bodies department accepted their demands on Friday, including abolition of the contractual system. The workers, who were on strike since March 31, suspended their agitation till April 30 and will join duty from Saturday.
Chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) and Jalandhar North legislator KD Bhandari, mayor Sunil Jyoti and municipal commissioner Gurpreet Singh Khehra said deadlock ended following a meeting between local bodies minister Anil Joshi and president of Punjab Safai Mazdoor Federation Chandan Grewal on Thursday late night. The meeting was reportedly arranged by Bhandari in Amritsar after chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s scheduled meeting with the union that was to take place on Thursday evening in Chandigarh was postponed.
Khehra read out the demands accepted by the minister, including scrapping of the contractual system in recruitment of Class-4 employees and direct enrolment by the municipal corporation on rates fixed by the DC. The minister also assured the union that no Class-4 employee would be outsourced. Khehra said safai sewaks and sewermen working as the drivers for the past three years as per the MC records would be promoted as drivers.
He said other demands such as regularisation of services and revision of pay scales would be taken up at a meeting between the CM and union representatives on April 30.
Bhandari said the meeting with Joshi ended on a positive note and some of the demands were accepted. However, Grewal said if the government fails to accept their demands on April 30, the union would again go on strike.
The strike has turned the city into a garbage dump. Carcasses are also lying at many dumping sites, raising fear of the spread of diseases. In many areas, people were left with no option but to burn the garbage, leading to pollution.