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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Sanitation workers protest outside MC building, say can’t wear GPS watches

The employees in a communication had also stated that “their workers can even die” after wearing these watches and it affects their privacy as there were attempts to make them “bonded labour”.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | October 24, 2020 10:32:45 am
Chandigarh safai karamcharis, Chandigarh safai karamcharis protest, Chandigarh sanitation workers protest, Chandigarh garbage collectors protestGarbage collectors protest near Municipal Corporation Building in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Friday; (right) the protestors show their watches. Express Photo: Kamleshwar Singh

Hundreds of safai karamcharis and garbage collectors staged a protest outside the Municipal Corporation building on Friday.

The safai karamcharis have been protesting against the MC’s order of wearing GPS watches while garbage collectors protested against the order of civic body running its own garbage vehicles. Other demands include regularising contractual employees.

Krishan Chadha, president of the Safai Karamcharis’ Union, said, “We will continue with our strike until our demands are met. This is the height of insensitivity. Our people have been getting unwell when they wear these GPS watches. The civic body will have to revoke its order.”

During the protest, the entire road in front of the civic body office was jampacked.

In February too, the sanitation workers had argued that after wearing the watches, they were getting a sensation of “whirling” and feeling giddy.

The employees in a communication had also stated that “their workers can even die” after wearing these watches and it affects their privacy as there were attempts to make them “bonded labour”.

In a written communication to the Commissioner, the union said that there are employees that have suffered swelling as well.

“These watches are affecting the health of the sanitation workers. We are getting complaints of many who have suffered swelling on their wrists, getting vomiting and whirling sensation. A worker can die. Municipal Corporation is treating the employees like slaves,” the written statement said.

It was further stated that these watches “are affecting their privacy”. They stated that if this decision is not revoked, they will protest on February 27 in front of the Municipal Corporation office.

The civic body has obtained these watches on rent. The rent of all 4,000 watches will cost Rs 18.68 lakh to the corporation every month (rent of one watch Rs 467, including GST) and an amount of Rs 2.24 crore will be incurred every year.

Municipal Commissioner K K Yadav wore the first watch.

It was said that the objective of the GPS-enabled wrist watches was to record attendance of field staff shift-wise, prevent and control misuse of manual attendance system, maintain transparency, accountability in operations and weed out the fake, duplicate and false workers.

How these watches work

These watches help track the movement of workers using a software where each and every official has his account. Information is displayed about the movement of each official. Original designated places of work have been entered and if the employee deviates from his designated place of work, it will start reflecting in his account and accordingly salary will be deducted for remaining ‘missing’ for that duration. Reports will be generated for each employee.

Garbage vehicles

Waste collectors have also been protesting against the civic body for bringing its own garbage vehicles for collection of waste. Even as the civic body had said that they will engage all of them, they don’t want this new system to be in place.

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