No Salary For Last Five Months, Bengaluru Sanitary Workers Struggle To Survive
Tired with non-payment of salaries for months now, the pourakarmikas (contract workers) of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) of the Dharmaraya Swamy Temple ward, Bengaluru have stopped turning up for work for the last two days. Reportedly, as many as 2,000 sanitary workers have not been paid their salaries since January. It is not an isolated instance, in the past too, pourakarmikas from other zones of Bengaluru have protested against non-payment of salaries.
Maithreyi Krishnan from the BBMP Guttige Pourakarmikara Sangha told The Hindu the contractors under which these pourakarmikas are employed have not even given their ESI (Employee State Insurance) or PF (Provident Fund) numbers to them, “The pourakarmikas have not been given their ESI or PF numbers. We have been asking the BBMP to initiate criminal action against contractors for withholding the information, besides blacklisting them.”
Venkatesh M of the Dalit Bahujan Movement has claimed that even though the BBMP is supposed to ensure that the pourakarmikas receive their salaries by 7th of every month, the same is not being followed.
Joint Commissioner (Health and Solid Waste Management), BBMP, Sarfaraz Khan while speaking to The Hindu admitted to problems in the salary distribution, he said, “The problem is more in the core areas. Around 2,000 pourakarmikas are yet to get their salaries. We are in talks with the association to sort out the issue.”
He also said that these issues would be raised during a review of solid waste management with the BBMP Commissioner soon.
In March too, it was reported that 300 pourakarmikas under the Hagadooru and Bellandur wards of Mahadevapura zone, Bengaluru were not paid salaries from past few months.
Last year in June, 6,000 pourakarmikas went on a strike due to which work was halted in several areas of the city, including central Bengaluru, Malleswaram, Peenya, Jayanagar, Koramangala, Cox Town and Mahadevapura. One of the reasons behind the strike was irregular payment of salary.
The Logical Indian take
These pourakarmikas’ completely live off the meagre salary they receive. For them, it is a hand-to-mouth existence. In such a situation, non-payment or delay in payment of salary adversely affects them and here we are talking about delay of five-six months.
They form the backbone of the city making sure it is kept clean and is highly maintained. The authorities should make sure that the pourakarmikas receive their salaries on time