Few options available for contract labourers in Tumkur CMC

The Tumkur City Municipal Corporation (CMC) has around 377 civic workers — 77 permanent and the rest on contract.

There have been some long-pending demands of the pourakarmikas: to abolish the contract system, for parity in pay and for providing health insurance, housing and other benefits such as education facilities for their children.

According to sources in the Tumkur CMC, most of the pourakarmikas have been on contract work for the past 20 years. However, in the past six years, the CMC has been outsourcing garbage collection and other works through contractors. “The Contract Labour Abolition and Regulation Act, 1970, states that employees cannot be appointed on contract basis for jobs of a permanent nature. Also, the Municipality Act, 1989, clearly says that providing drinking water, electricity and sanitation is the obligatory duty of the municipality. As these jobs are permanent in nature, they have to be done by permanent employees and not by contract labour,” said advocate Ramesh.

Syed Mujeeb, president, Tumkur District Pourakarmika Sangha, told The Hindu: “The CMC has violated the rules and are using the services of 300 sweepers and scavengers on contract basis.”

Secretary of the Zilla Pourakarmika Sangha, N.K. Subramanya, said the Government is not ready to regularise services because their labour came cheap. He also added that they have to be present at 5.30 a.m. each day and if they are late even by 20 minutes they are marked absent.

Difficulties

Narasamma, a pourakarmika, said they are not provided gloves, gumboots or masks. She complained that she is not free to take leave when she falls ill because of the fear of losing a day's wages.

Manju, another pourakarmika, said: “I cannot work continuously because of pain in my muscles and back.” He is often absent three to four days a month.

CMC environment engineer Shivashankar said they have been provided gloves, gumboots and masks, but pourakarmikas prefer to work without them.

Deputy Commissioner Somashekar said if the services of contract labourers are regularised there would be a permanent financial burden on the Government. This was why they preferred outsourcing labourers.

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