Around 300 employees, mainly temporary sweepers demanding regularisation, of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) staged a dharna for nearly 90 minutes in its headquarters Saturday afternoon. The sweepers of New west zone area are on indefinite strike since August 22 demanding among other things regularisation and other benefits.
The protesters led by Gujarat Mazdoor Sabha (GMS) arrived at the civic headquarters at 1 pm. Though they were allowed to hold protests and slogan shouting in the compound for 90 minutes, they were not let into the main building.
GMS leader Amrish Patel and advocate Shamshad Pathan addressed the protesters that the fight would reach Gandhinagar in the coming week.
They dispersed without meeting any authority of the civic body.
“The Corporation has a policy of adopting on its rolls those who complete either five years or nine hundred days in service. Despite working for nearly 15 years the workers are denied not only pension and provident fund (PF) but also jobs to their kin on compassionate ground. Thus AMC is going against its own policy, we do not accept it,” said Amrish Patel. When pointed out that the AMC has invoked Essential Services (Maintenance) Act against the striking workers, Patel said that they would continue the strike.
“We are not afraid of ESMA and no one is afraid of its invocation as it does not apply to these workers. We are not intimated about it and even if this be true, we will challenge it in the High Court,” Patel said, adding that anti-Dalit actions by the police were condemnable. He said that their demands would not cause any extra financial burden to the AMC which had presented Rs 6,000 crore budget for this fiscal year.