With garbage not lifted in the town for the fifth consecutive day on Tuesday due to the ongoing strike by all 400 sanitation workers (safai karamcharis), municipal corporation commissioner Uma Shankar Gupta has written to the deputy commissioner seeking police protection so that the civic body could start lifting garbage after arranging additional manpower.
“We are ready to clean the city provided we are given police protection. The safai karmacharis have issued threats, so we need police protection,” Gupta’s letter says.
The workers have been on strike for the past five days demanding the filling up of 328 vacant posts, insurance cover of `10 lakh and inclusion of Class-4 employees and sanitation workers within the ambit of recommendations of the Pay Commission. They have also opposed the use of mechanised cleaning vehicles. “Most demands of the striking workers can be dealt with only at the government level. We have no role to play,” commissioner Gupta said.
To end the deadlock, SAS Nagar deputy commissioner DS Mangat met representatives of the striking workers, but no solution could be found.
“We will not take back the strike till our demands are met. We want a meeting with the chief minister,” said Sajjan Singh, chairman, Punjab Safai Mazdoor Federation. “We held the first-round of talks on Tuesday. The union will revert on Wednesday,” the DC said.
The majority of the 400 sanitation workers are on contract and as of now, door-to-door collection also stands suspended. The protesters are not even allowing mechanised sweeping. Employees of other municipal corporations in Patiala, Bathinda and Jalandhar have also supported the strike.