A large section of conservancy workers, employed by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) on contract through the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM), staged a demonstration in Ambattur on Tuesday, demanding regularisation of their jobs.
With their contract ending by the middle of this month, the workers demanded urgent intervention by the State government.
Ku. Bharathi, State president of Uzhaippor Urimai Iyakkam (UUI), which spearheaded the demonstration with participation from a few other organisations, said the Madras High Court, in an ongoing case, had asked the Corporation not to terminate the services of these workers for three months.
“Since that duration is also over and further hearing in the case is yet to happen, the workers are worried about their employment,” he said.
V. Hari Prashanth, an affected worker and a zonal-level functionary of UUI, said there were nearly 1,500 conservancy workers engaged temporarily under the NULM in Zone 7 (Ambattur) of the Corporation alone.
“With the conservancy work in the zone now being outsourced to Chennai Enviro Solutions Pvt. Ltd., which is part of the Ramky Group, we are at risk of getting terminated any time. Similar terminations have happened in other zones,” he said.
According to him, the private company offered to absorb a small section of the 1,500 workers into its workforce. “However, the pay seemed to be even less than the poor pay we are getting now and they said they will not take people older than 50. Considering the number of years we have put in service, we want the Corporation to make all of us permanent employees,” Mr. Prashanth said.
The workers said that they were paid at the rate of ₹391 a day.
Appeal to CM
He said Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had written a letter in January this year, when he was the Leader of the Opposition, in support of providing permanent employment to the NULM workers. “We are appealing to the Chief Minister to implement the same now,” he said.
Joseph Samuel, Ambattur MLA, of the DMK, met the protesters and promised to take up the issue with senior Ministers on an urgent basis.