A strike by sanitation workers of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation demanding salary hike has left the capital city stinking. Thousands of tonnes of garbage has piled up at many places in the city as the strike entered the eighth day on Tuesday after talks between union leaders and GHMC officials failed.
The city produces about 4000 tonnes of garbage daily. Sanitation workers, both regular and contract, across Telangana state have also joined the strike demanding better wages, health care benefits and protection against professional hazards. As workers of sanitation, transport and malaria departments stayed away from work, cleaning of roads, clearing and transporting garbage has been severely hampered.
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The municipal unions are demanding that salaries of contract workers be increased from Rs 13,000 per month to Rs 17,400 per month in line with overall increase in salaries of government employees. They are also demanding that all contract workers be regularized. The third demand is that the government should allot them 2 bed-room houses under Telangana Government schemes for the poor. The TRS Government which hiked salaries of government employees by 43 per cent last year is wary of accepting the demands of the contract workers as it would add to the burden.
“We are ready to talk to the unions but they are not calling off their strike. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao is keen to address their concerns but they are not relenting,” GHMC Commissioner and Special Officer Somesh Kumar said.
“We are doing our best to clear the piled up garbage by hiring workers and vehicles and redirecting vehicles of other departments. Some 2500 tonnes has been cleared so far. At some places municipal workers clashed with the hired workers but work is going on,” an official said.
Meanwhile, expressing solidarity with sanitation workers, YSR Congress Party, Telangana, has demanded the TRS Government to implement the wage revision and concede to the just demands of the employees. “TRS instead of implementing the 10th Pay Revision has been neglecting the municipal workers’ demands and is trying to create a wedge between the employees’ unions,” party spokesperson Konda Raghava Reddy said.
While seven unions are on strike, one outfit which is affiliated to TRS and has no recognition is managed by the State and it has attempted to create difference of opinion and confusion, he said.