The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Pourakarmikara Sangha on Wednesday urged the State government to abolish the contract system and demanded that drivers, loaders and cleaners of garbage collection vehicles be brought under the direct payment system and be made permanent, as assured by the Chief Minister.
The demand comes after Bangalore Solid Waste Management Ltd. invited tender for garbage disposal in all 243 wards.
“We demand that the contract system be abolished and the workers be brought under the direct payment system and be made permanent. After great struggles, pourakarmikas who are sweeping the streets have been brought under the system of direct payment under the BBMP. However, drivers, helpers, loaders and cleaners, who are also pourakarmikas who collect, transport and dispose of garbage, are employed under a sham contract system,” Nirmala, a member of the pourakarmikara sangha, said.
“Although contracting out core and perennial nature of work is illegal under the Contract Labor (Regulation and Abolition) Act, the BBMP is using the sham contract system and denying drivers and helpers their legitimate rights in a completely illegal manner. Workers are not paid minimum wages, are not paid wages on time, with wages due for 3-6 months, and are not provided social security benefits or basic amenities. Any demand for basic rights is met with threats of termination,” she added.
After a strike in July 2022, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai gave a written assurance that all pourakarmikas would be made permanent and the drivers, loaders, and cleaners under contract will be brought under direct payment system, and thereafter made permanent.
The State government had also formed a committee of government officials and representatives of workers, including the AICCTU.
“In the meeting on October 28, 2022, the said committee decided to recommend to the government that the contract system must be abolished, and the drivers, loaders, and helpers should be brought on the system of direct payment and then made permanent. However, in these circumstances, Bangalore Solid Waste Management Ltd., established under BBMP, has invited tenders for solid waste management on January 21. Any such contract system will only be a continuation of modern slavery,” Maitreyi Krishnan, of BBMP Pourakarmikara Sangha, said.