A section of teachers working under the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) on Monday went on an indefinite strike over non-payment of salaries since November.
Kuldeep Singh Khatri, president of the Shikshak Nyay Manch, a union representing the protesting teachers, said the civic body has spent the money allotted by the Delhi government on “other items”.
“The teachers are struggling to pay their personal expenses for the last few months and the EDMC has been unable to assist them. We will be camping outside the civic body’s office till our demands are met. Teachers cannot work in these conditions and the EDMC is busy spending their money on other agencies,” said Mr. Khatri.
EDMC Commissioner Vikas Anand said that the teachers’ salaries for November has been released by the civic body, while a “no work, no pay” rule will be in place for those on strike. However, Mr. Khatri said that “no salaries were received from the EDMC’s end.”
In February, doctors at EDMC-run Swami Dayanand Hospital went on an indefinite strike over the non-payment of salaries since November, which led to services at the hospital, including emergency, remaining shut for a brief period. With the municipal elections scheduled for April, strikes led by civic body workers have become a recurring trend with most voicing that their primary reasons revolve around untimely payment of salaries or regularisation of services.
While the EDMC is currently undergoing a financial crisis, Mr. Anand said factors contributing to the crunch include a reduction in funds allocated by the Delhi government and the elected wing rejecting the proposal for increasing property tax rates.
“Our allocation for the year has been reduced from ₹1,200 crore to ₹700 crore, while the salaries have only increased. Over the last few years, our revenue collection has improved, however, the reduction in external revenue has really affected the financial situation,” he added.
EDMC’s Leader of Oppostion Manoj Tyagi said the recurring delays in the payment of salaries was due to “financial mismanagement” within the civic body, adding that the BJP-led civic body was “deeply rooted in corruption”.
“When they had the money to pay salaries for three months, they did not disburse and we had to protest. It is a recurring method of depriving employees in order to blame and defame the Delhi government,” said Mr. Tyagi.
“Even in the case of regularising certain sections of workers, such as Domestic Breeding Checkers (DBC), they have no intention of doing it. Because once the DBCs are regularised and made permanent employees under the civic body, the salaries will also have to be paid by the latter, which they want to use for corrupt practices,” .