'Akshara Dasoha' workers may strike work in June

Glitches are likely to crop up in the Akshara Dasoha (midday meals) scheme, as workers under it are contemplating going on an indefinite protest in June, when the new academic year begins.   

Over 40,000 workers who render services in 55,113 schools, catering to over 65 lakh students, across the State will stage an indefinite protest in the City, hoping that their long-standing demand for hike in salaries is fulfilled. The workers are members of the Karnataka State Akshara Dasoha Employees’ Association. 

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Malini, General Secretary, Bisi Oota Union, said that hike in salaries and regularisation of employment are among issues that have not been addressed for a long time. 

“We do not intend to deprive children of their meals. We will try our best to ensure things are in place. But, despite various oral assurances, the issue has not been addressed, forcing us to take this step,” Malini said.  She said that according to terms put forth in the Indian Labour conference, the State had agreed for an increase in the salaries. “We were assured decent payment. So far, it has not happened,” she said.  “There are people here who are working for years. There is no job security. The workers have not been given even experience letters,” she said. 

Malini said that even as the hike was to come into effect from December, so far nothing has been done. She said that while the present salary was as less as Rs 1,100, they were assured an increase of Rs 500. “For a decent living, we need at least Rs 3,000,” she said. 

An increase in amount

But officials claim otherwise. Mohammed Mohsin, Commissioner, Department of Public Instruction said, “I do not see a need for them to protest as there has been an increase already. An amount of Rs 500 more was given since April,” he said. 

In December last year, members of the Association and CPM had staged a protest, demanding regularisation of services and hike in wages. They had demanded that the workers be given the facility of provident fund. They had also demanded that workers be provided uniforms. 

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