Sanitation workers continue strike even as Kejri returns to Delhi

Even as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal returned to the city after undergoing naturopathy treatment for his cough, the strike by the municipal employees continued on Sunday with heaps of garbage piling up on the roadside in north and east Delhi.

The ongoing strike is likely to be the topmost agenda of the Cabinet meeting being chaired by the Chief Minister.

While sanitation workers and engineers associations said they would continue their indefinite strike, majority of doctors resumed their duties on Friday. Municipal teachers and other employees ended their protests on Saturday.

Continuing with their agitation, sanitation employees and engineers are all set to strike work on Monday.

“We will not end the strike until the corporations clear our arrears and provide cashless health facilities to us,” said Rajender Mewati, general secretary of United Front of MCD Employees.

Municipal commissioners of North and East Corporations have been appealing to the striking employees to resume their duties as the municipalities are in the process of releasing salaries till January to their staff.

But protesting associations said they want a “permanent solution” to this impasse.
“We want a permanent solution to the issue of distribution of salaries. We think re-unification of the three municipal corporations is the permanent solution as most of the revenue generating resources have gone to the South Delhi Municipal Corporation during the trifurcation of the unified MCD in 2012,” said Mewati.

Engineers’ association echoed similar concerns. “We will keep our side of the story in the court tomorrow. We will continue our protest till the salaries are credited to our accounts,” said Rajesh Mishra, president of Forum of MCD Engineers.

“We had requested the Lieutenant Governor to arrange a meeting with the Home Minister. We have received a communication from the LG’s office that we would be able to meet the Home Minister in a day or so. We will share our issues with him,” he added.

Employees’ unions said that workers have not received salaries for December and January. Senior officials with the North and East Corporations said that employees will get salaries by February 15.
“Transfer of payments in such a huge scale takes time. We assure the employees that they will get salaries for December and January latest by February 15,” said an official with the East Corporation.

Fund-starved North and East Corporations’ employees including sanitation workers, teachers and engineers went on strike on January 27 demanding timely payment of salaries and clearance of arrears. On January 30, doctors, nurses and para-medical staff joined the agitation. Even sanitation workers of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation struck work showing solidarity with their co-workers.

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