Fed up with the mounting workload that threatens to swamp municipal administration and even routine operations, employees of the City Corporation are launching an agitation demanding enhancement of the staff strength and better infrastructure.

On June 12, second Saturday, employees affiliated to the Kerala Municipal and Corporation Staff Union (KMCSU) have decided to undertake a novel method of protest to highlight their demand and force the government's hand on the issue. They will give up their holiday and turn up at the office on the day. After staging a dharna in the morning hours, they will report for work in the afternoon.

“The Corporation office follows a staff pattern that was fixed in 1969. The staff strength has failed to match the incremental increase in municipal functions and responsibilities,” says K. Jayadevan, general secretary, KMCSU. “This has led to serious setback in service delivery.”

The union leader points out that the lack of facilities in the office is also a crippling factor for the Corporation. Space constraints in the office building affect both employees and citizens who visit the office for various purposes.

“Election work, census operations, construction work under the EMS Housing Scheme, pre-monsoon cleaning, projects taken up under the People's Plan Campaign and distribution of birth certificates, pensions and welfare scheme assistance are suffering due to the lack of adequate staff,” says Mr. Jayadevan.

“The diversion of 130 Corporation employees for election duty on Saturdays and Sundays has compounded the situation.”

The employees fear that the merger of five suburban panchayats with the corporation would aggravate the crisis caused by the acute staff shortage in the Corporation and bog down the administration.

MLA and former Mayor V. Sivankutty is scheduled to inaugurate the dharna in front of the Corporation office on Saturday. Leaders of the Federation of State Employees and Teachers Organisations (FSETO) will address the dharna.