Sanitation workers burn EDMC chief’s effigy
As workers’ union sticks to demands, garbage piles up in many areas
The indefinite strike by sanitation workers of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) entered its second day on Thursday as hundreds of EDMC workers demanded the payment of salaries due to them, clearance of arrears and medical cashless cards. The workers protested outside the residence of East Delhi Mayor Neema Bhagat in Geeta Colony and burnt an effigy of the Commissioner.
“Everyone in the government talks about ‘Swachh Bharat’ but no one talks about our issues or our raises. We have dumped garbage in front of her house and burnt her effigy to highlight our plight. We will continue to strike till our dues and demands are met,” said Sanjay Gehlot, president of the MCD Swachhata Karmchari Union. He claimed that the union has about 11,000 members and most of them have joined the stir which effectively means that east Delhi is staring at a garbage crisis. “We know Diwali is coming up and people will face problems but they should think of us too, who have to manage with meagre salaries,” added Gehlot.
“We have raised our voices several times but our demands which include payment of salaries to several employees, arrears and medical cashless card, retirement benefits and pension are never provided. We have always been assured that action will be taken but nothing happens,” Gehlot said.
On Tuesday, a day ahead of the strike, Mayor Bhagat had met members of some of the unions and assured them that their demands would be met. “The meeting was held to end the deadlock. Their salaries have been disbursed and they were ensured that their bonus will be released before Diwali as well but they still prefer to go on strike. However, safai karamcharis are the EDMC’s backbone and the corporation will make all possible efforts to fulfil their demands,” said East Delhi Mayor Neema Bhagat. This is the third strike this year by sanitation workers over non-payment of salaries as well as issues related to regularisation of jobs.
The impact of the strike was felt from day one itself as garbage was not collected from several areas in Krishna Nagar, New Ashok Nagar, Laxmi Nagar among others.
Workers protested outside the East Delhi Mayor’s residence