Sanitary workers on contract demand service regularisation

Workers’ unions and associations affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi staged a protest at Anna Maaligai, the Madurai Corporation headquartews, on Thursday.

M. Balasubramanian, general secretary of CITU, M. Amsaraj, general secretary of Tamil Nadu Conservancy Workers’ Association, and S. Boominathan, district coordinator of conservancy workers’ association affiliated to the VCK, addressed the protesters. They said that the Corporation should discontinue daily wage system and regularise the services of contract workers as per a High Court directive.

At a time when the governments were striving to keep the cities clean and green through various initiatives and campaigns, it was imperative that the civi body had an adequate strength of sanitary workers. Besides regularising the services of contract workers, the Corporation must give them fair wages in accordance with labour laws.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the high risk involved, the conservancy workers cleared mounds of hospital waste and other garbage. In recognition of the importance of their nature of work, the State government included them in the list of frontline workers and announced payment of ₹15,000 as COVID-19 incentive. However, the money had not reached all the beneficiaries. The Corporation must ensure that everybody received the incentive.

Jobs must be given to legal heirs of workers who died in harness on compassionate grounds so that their families were not left in the lurch.

Full salary – either for 30 days or 31 days – must be credited to the conservancy workers’ bank accounts. Two sets of uniform material with stitching fee for each, tricycles and other equipment must be given to the workers.

Similarly, contract system should be dropped and service regularisation effected in the engineering section also. Pongal bonus must be given to workers in the engineering section. The conservancy workers should be allotted houses in flats constructed by Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board (erstwhile Slum Clearance Board).

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