Talks with protesting BBMP staff fail, strike to continue; union terms talks inconclusive

In a confusing turn of events in the ongoing boycott of work by Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) staff, a section of pourakarmikas decided to resume work from Friday, provided their attendance is marked. If they do, they would bring the city the much-needed respite from the garbage accumulating over the past two days.

Officers, engineers, officials of all grades and pourakarmikas have been on strike since Wednesday to highlight their grievances against the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF).

Differences surface

On Thursday, Day 2 of the strike, one section of members of the BBMP Pourakarmikas and Health Gangmen Union told Commissioner M.K. Shankarlinge Gowda and Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy pourakarmikas on BBMP’s payroll are willing to start collecting garbage if there is someone to mark their attendance. But another section of the union said no such decision had been taken and the Mayor was trying to “misguide” the media with such claims.

After a meeting in the afternoon with the Mayor and Commissioner, N. Narayan, director of the union, said they would continue the strike and no pourakarmika would attend work on Friday.

This was even as the Mayor appealed for an end to the strike as the matter is now before the State government. Mr. Murthy’s press statement said their demands for the withdrawal of criminal complaints made against BBMP engineers as well as limiting BMTF’s powers had been raised with the Chief Minister.

The Commissioner too hoped the strike would end “keeping the interest of the public in mind”.

Talks ‘inconclusive’

At the end of the day, all appeals fell on deaf ears as members of the BBMP Officers’ and Employees’ Union also called the talks “inconclusive” and said the strike would continue. A final decision on how long the boycott should continue is likely to be taken on Friday morning, according to sources in the union.

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