North Delhi Municipal Corporation engineers threaten strike over unpaid salaries
A forum of engineers has threatened its members will go on a strike if their employer--North Delhi Municipal Corporation--did not pay their unpaid salaries for three months even as the civic body cited a financial crunch because of the Covid-19 pandemic for the delay and promised to address the issue soon.
Forum of MCD Engineers president SD Tomar said the engineers will have no option but to go on strike or protest if their pending salaries are not cleared soon. He said engineers working with the East Delhi Municipal Corporation have not been paid their salaries for two months. Tomar added it has started taking a toll on their lives. “The livelihood of municipal engineers and their lives is badly suffering due to these inordinate delays in payment of salaries. We also raised the matter with the north corporation mayor on Monday. For how long should we work without pay? Our patience is now giving up,” Tomar said.
The forum said the salaries have not been paid since May and that they have written to the corporation’s mayor, Jai Prakash, and commissioner seeking the payment.
In a letter to the commissioner on August 21, the engineers’ body said there has been a persistent delay in disbursal of salaries and pensions of municipal engineers. “…a delay of 3-4 months is common in getting salaries. This has been causing unrest and resentment among municipal engineers and their motivation is getting killed gradually. In view of the above, kindly look into the matter and formulate a scheme or policy for timely disbursal of salaries.”
According to civic authorities, there are nearly 1,200 engineers working with the three municipalities of North, East, and South Delhi. The north corporation employs around 600 engineers.
AP Khan, the forum’s general secretary, said it is becoming hard for them to survive under such conditions.
Prakash said the civic body was going through an “acute financial crisis” due to the pandemic and that is why salaries have been delayed. “I am aware of the issue and we are making arrangements to pay salaries on time to all of our employees--be it engineers, doctors, teachers or sanitation workers. Pending salaries will be cleared soon,” Prakash said.
Teachers, doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, and civil contractors working with the North Delhi Municipal Corporation have also complained that they have not been paid their salaries and other dues for the last three to four months.
In June, doctors of Hindu Rao and Kasturba hospitals threatened mass resignations if their salaries were not paid, forcing the civic authorities to pay them. Teachers of north corporation schools in July also threatened to go on strike over pending salaries. The civic body later paid them a month’s salary. In June, civil contractors of the north corporation threatened to stop work and refused to take fresh projects over non-payment of bills amounting to approximately Rs 500 crore. They are yet to be paid and have stopped taking new projects.