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Pourakarmikas call off strike after govt. assurance – Mrit News

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They were on a strike for four days demanding that the Karnataka government regularise the services of pourakarmikas who are contractual workers 

They were on a strike for four days demanding that the Karnataka government regularise the services of pourakarmikas who are contractual workers 

Following written assurances from the State government about fulfilling their demands, pourakarmikas called off their strike on Monday. They were on a strike for four days demanding that the government regularise the services of pourakarmikas who are contractual workers and direct-payment system for drivers, loading and unloading staff.

A revised letter on the decisions taken by the State government, signed by the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister N. Manjunath Prasad, states that the government has in principle approved the regularisation of the services of pourakarmikas.

The letter added that the government will form a committee comprising higher officials and representatives from the Karnataka State Safai Karamchari Development Corporation, union leaders, and others.

The committee will submit a report within three months. Based on the report of the committee, the regularisation process will be initiated in three months, it said.

The letter also states that barring BBMP limits, the contract system will be abolished in a phased manner without affecting waste management work. 

Pourakarmikas during their protest in Bengaluru.

Pourakarmikas during their protest in Bengaluru.
| Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

On July 1, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai held a meeting with officials and representatives of the pourakarmikas.

The pourkarmikas had demanded that the State government should come out with an written assurance on their demands. Leaders of the pourakarmikas had said the first letter received from the government on July 2 was not convincing and lacked clarity, forcing them to continue the strike. On Monday, the government issued a revised letter on the minutes of the meeting headed by the CM.

Other assurances given by the government include housing scheme for pourakarmikas, a scholarship programme for their children on the lines of Raitha Vidhyanidhi scheme, maternity leave for pourakarmikas, and resting rooms in each ward of the BBMP and local bodies.

Union leader Clifton D’ Rozario said, “Pourkarmikas across the State participated in the strike. Our prominent demands were regularising the services of pourakarmikas and bringing drivers and other helpers under a direct-pay system. During our meeting with the CM, in principle the government had agreed to our demands, but when we received a letter on the proceedings, these points were missing. So, we had to continue the strike. In the revised letter on the proceedings, assurances given by the CM have been added.”

“Regularisation of services will help 26,000 pourakarmikas across the State. Barring BBMP, the government has also agreed to bring helpers and drivers under the direct-pay system. Based on the assurance given by the government, we have called off the strike,” he added. 

In Bengaluru, garbage collection vehicles and helpers are provided by contractors of the BBMP, whereas in other municipal bodies vehicles are owned by the respective bodies.

He also said as per the officials’ response during the meeting, bringing helpers and drivers under direct payment system does not face technical issues in other cities. 

Maitreyi Krishnan, BBMP Guttridge Pourakarmikara Sangha, said the committee will also look into implementation of ‘equal pay for equal work’ for the workers and the Legislative Assembly will propose a special law in the upcoming session.

“While auto drivers, helpers and loaders will be brought under the direct-payment system in all other districts of Karnataka in a phased manner, those in BBMP will continue to remain under the exploitative sham contract system. Our union will continue to fight against illegal and exploitative contract system and will continue to strive towards ensuring rights and dignity for all,” she said.

What pourakarmikas have been promised

Government agrees to make the jobs of all pourakarmikas under direct-payment system permanent within three months

‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’ to be implemented for all workers under direct-payment system

Auto drivers/helpers/loaders to be brought under direct-payment system in other districts

IPD Salappa report to be implemented

All benefits for housing, education, maternity health for pourakarmikas to be provided

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