Strike Ends, Waste Pickup Resumes until Next Strike in Few Months

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Strike Ends, Waste Pickup Resumes until Next Strike in Few Months

Mangaluru: After four days of state-wide indefinite strike, including Mangaluru, the Pourakarmikas have returned back to work, Mangaluru City Corporation has begun clearing garbage dumped in public places since late Monday evening. Some of the striking workers of Antony Waste Handling Cell, Mangaluru returned to lift the garbage dumped on the roadsides during the night. The temporary Pourakarmikas, aided by some of their permanent colleagues, went on strike demanding the regularisation of jobs for 55,000 of them.

On Monday, 4 July evening the Pourakarmikas Union leaders met Chief Minister Basavaraj Bomma in Bengaluru and compromised on ending the strike after the CM assured them that their demands will be looked into and fulfilled within three months. And also in Mangaluru, local union leader of Pourakarmikas Anil Kumar, had a meeting with DK Deputy Commissioner Dr K V Rajendra, in the presence of MCC Mayor Premanand Shetty, MCC Health Officer Manjayya Shetty, Prakash Kurup In-Charge Antony waste Handling Cell, among others, and DC requested the union leader to end their strike based on CM’s assurance, to which the Pourakarmikas have agreed.

Mayor Premanand Shetty briefing the media said, “After the meeting with DC, we convinced the union leaders to send permanent workers to work in the interest of the people in the city. I have also spoken to state Safai Karmachari Commission chairman M Shivanna. He has promised that the issue is likely to be solved soon. As the strike was also called off at the same time, later some of them returned to work in the evening. Priority will be given to lifting the garbage accumulated in apartments on Monday as it will be in huge quantity. Instead of over 100 tipper vehicles, which were used to shift garbage in the city daily, only 7-8 started working on Monday to lift the waste”.

Prakash Kurup, the In-Charge of Antony Waste Handling Cell speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “Prior to the end of the strike, we had outsourced a few trucks and workers to pick up the garbage, and now that the Pourakarmikas have ended their strike work will on a double shift basis so that the piles of garbage accumulated is cleared soon. First, the waste which is in large quantities will be cleared, followed by the garbage pick up at homes and apartments. We are happy that the strike has ended in the interest of the public”.

Earlier, Congress flayed the city corporation administration for not making any alternative arrangements to clear the garbage accumulated across the city during the four-day strike by the workers who were mainly demanding regularising their services. Addressing press persons, the former Mangaluru City South MLA from the Congress and who was also a former Commissioner of the corporation J.R. Lobo said, “The corporation can no longer allow the city to stink. The corporation administration has no “public connect” as none of the authorities in the administration sought the cooperation of people in managing the situation and explained to the people how it handled the solid waste generated in the city during the strike”.

Former MLA J R Lobo

“The demands of the striking workers were genuine. Either the government should regularise their services by considering them as permanent government employees or if they were hired on a contract basis, all labour laws should be made applicable to them. Labour laws applicable to employees of private firms should also be made applicable to sanitation workers if they are employed on a contract basis. The corporation not making any alternative arrangements to lift the garbage from houses and other establishments for four days revealed the failure of the administration,” Lobo said.

The former MLA said that when he was the Commissioner of the civic body in 2002, he had regularised the services of 97 Pourakarmikas under a Supreme Court verdict. Responding to it, the Mayor told reporters that the civic body pressed about eight of its vehicles to lift the garbage on Saturday and Sunday but they were encountered by the striking workers.

MLA U T Khader

Supporting the striking workers in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner, the Mangaluru MLA U.T. Khader said that none of the BJP MLAs and the district in-charge minister visited and listened to the workers. It revealed how indifferent the administration was to the demands of the workers. He condemned the attitude of the MLAs. Khader, who is also the Deputy Leader of the Congress in the Legislative Assembly, said that the government can create an exclusive development corporation for Pourakarmikas.

Meanwhile, the Joint Action Committee of Pourakarmika Unions announced a one-point agenda that all categories of cleanliness workers, irrespective of the kind of work they did, should be treated as Pourakarmikas and their employment be regularised across the State. The Unions were demanding a retirement benefit of Rs 10 lakh and a pension of Rs 5,000 for the workers, as well as a health card and employment for the dependents. Other main demands included housing, free education for their children, equal pay for equal work and a dignified work environment.

Dakshina Kannada district Pourakarmika Sangha president Anil Kumar Kankanady was also hopeful that their demands would be fulfilled at the earliest by the government.


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