Garbage remained unattended across the city as over 300 workers under the Punjab Safai Mazdoor Federation started an indefinite strike on Tuesday
The workers including, cleanliness workers, sewermen, gardeners and drivers, staged a dharna outside the municipal corporation office and criticised the BJP-Akali government for its “lackadaisical” attitude towards the problems of sanitation workers.
The workers claimed that local bodies minister Anil Joshi had promised to fulfill all their demands but nothing has been done so far.
The union members have demanded the recruitment of around 2,000 safai workers and 500 sewermen for the city and abolition of the contract system.
The union is also demanding regularisation of 180 sanitation workers and 65 sewermen.
Other than this, the federation is also demanding pension benefits and proper medical facilities for all cleanliness workers.
The protesters later met municipal commissioner GS Khaira who tried to pacify the protesters, claiming that the government has already sanctioned all their requests and is in the process of fulfilling them.
Meanwhile, sources in the municipal corporation claimed that Safai Mazdoor Federation president Chandan Grewal is eyeing for an assembly ticket and the protest has been organised by him to pressurise the government.
Chandan Grewal, however, maintains that the protest is being held for securing the rights of sanitation workers.
GS Khaira could not be reached for the comments.
MAYOR FAILS TO PACIFY PROTESTERS
Mayor Sunil Jyoti on Tuesday held a meeting with the protesting workers to convince workers to call off the strike, however, the protesting workers remained adamant on continuing the protest.
A union member said, “Jyoti told us that the matter is at government-level and he will talk to local bodies minister Anil Joshi on the matter.”
When contacted, the mayor said that though he tried to pacify the workers but they were not willing to call of the strike.
“I told them that some of their demands have been passed by the cabinet and they should not wait for notification on same,” said Sunil Jyoti.
“We will hold another meeting with the protesters and ask them to call off the strike,” he added.