The animal welfare activities at the Blue Cross animal shelter in Velachery were affected on Wednesday following a strike by a section of the employees.

Demanding an annual hike in their salary, they struck work. “Earlier when the treatments were free we did not insist on a hike. But now around Rs.50 to Rs.500 for consultation and surgery is being charged, and despite this the management refused to give us a hike,” a worker said. Five workers were also asked to leave at a short notice, he said.

With the workers refusing to attend to their duties at the shelter, the management brought in others from outside to do the regular works such as cleaning and sweeping the shelter.

When contacted Nanditha Krishna, a board member of the Blue Cross, however, said there was no strike. A total of 40 persons were involved in the works such as cleaning, sweeping and other related works.

They are not permanent employees, she said.

At present the organisation was not in a position to increase the salaries, as the donation from corporate sector has come down in the last couple of years. Moreover, the Chennai Corporation is also not providing any financial assistance. Against this backdrop, it would be difficult to give a pay hike for the workers at the Blue Cross that is primarily dependent on funds from donors, she added. The shortage of employees at the animal shelter saw many volunteers pitching in to render their services. IT professionals, doctors and students volunteered to feed and take care of the animals and clean the shelters at the Blue Cross on Wednesday.

This is not the first time the animal welfare activities at the shelter are hit due to a strike. Earlier this year a group of veterinarians struck work demanding a pay hike. However, with the management refusing to heed their demand, they resigned and the shelter recruited a fresh set of veterinarians.

Keywords: pay hike

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