They are demanding a 50 per cent increase in salaries

Three zones of the Chennai Corporation – Teynampet, Kodambakkam and Adyar – which generate around 1,600 tonnes of garbage daily went without garbage collection on Tuesday with compactor drivers of the Chennai Municipal Solid Waste Pvt. Ltd. (Ramky Enviro Engineers) going on strike.

They are on strike demanding a 50 per cent pay hike. The company, which clears garbage from these zones, had offered an incentive to the drivers for additional trips made to the garbage dumping yard. However, the drivers turned down the offer saying that tonnage incentives would not do.

Each zone has around 70 drivers and 22 compactors and they make roughly 80 trips to dumping yards. On Tuesday, even after the Corporation stepped in with its vehicles and manpower only around 800 tonnes were cleared. The rest remains in bins where door-to-door collection by tricycle men had dumped the garbage.

Balaji, a resident of T.Nagar, said garbage clearance by the private agency was very poor even otherwise.

“Many roads have unserviced overflowing bins forcing residents to dump garbage around the bins. Tricycle collection has also not been implemented on all streets. The company cites manpower shortage, but that cannot be accepted as reason enough for garbage to rot on the roads,” he said.

Corporation Commissioner D.Karthikeyan said the issue had been sorted and said that there was no strike as such. “Only a few vehicles did not march out,” he said.

Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy said despite its previous track record of poor garbage clearance in other cities, the Corporation was forced to give the contract to the company because it was the lowest bidder.