Sanitary workers’ strike affects garbage collection in Vellore

Sanitary workers staged a protest in Vellore on Monday.

Sanitary workers staged a protest in Vellore on Monday. | Photo Credit: VENKATACHALAPATHY C

More than 1,500 sanitary workers on contract with Vellore City Corporation were on strike, affecting the daily garbage collection in the fort town for the second day as the workers sought better wages and other incentives from the civic body. At present, contract workers were employed in three categories, such as garbage clearance on streets and roads (960 workers), dengue prevention and mosquito breeding control (306 workers) and micro compost centres (310 workers) under the solid waste management department of the civic body. These workers have been employed for more than a decade since the civic body became a Corporation in 2008. They were employed through outsourcing agencies and paid according to the nature of work. “We want uniform pay under the government order on minimum wages that was issued in October, 2017. The civic body should ensure that our EPF (Employees Provident Fund) is paid on time by the employer (private contractor),” said M. Govindammal, president, Vellore Corporation Sanitary Contract Workers Association.   As per norms, daily wages of contract workers in each district has been fixed by the District Collector every year based on labour requirement and industrial activity in the district. Accordingly, wages of these workers vary between districts. Contract workers in Vellore seek a uniformity in their daily wages that is being fixed by the Collector. Officials said that the work on bringing uniformity in the daily wages of contract workers is in progress by the State government. A government order (G.O) will be issued on the new daily minimum wages for contract workers in the State. Based on the order, a new tender to employ contract workers based on new daily wages will be done. “Delay in payment for EPF by contractors will be sorted out in a month. Although we are not directly involved in employing contract workers, we are talking to contractors on the timely payment for EPF,” P. Ashok Kumar, Commissioner, Vellore Corporation, told The Hindu. Currently, around 85 metric tonnes of garbage is generated within the civic body limits every day, and there are 50 micro compost centres that are used to segregate wastes. In other words, each person contributes 125 grams of waste daily. Divided into four zones, the Corporation has a total of 60 wards, covering around eight lakh residents. On an average, each ward has 70-80 streets where contract workers are employed on all days except Sundays. Now, the waste management work is being done by around 360 permanent sanitary staff of the civic body for the last two days due to strike. As a result, door-to-door garbage collection has been affected within the Corporation limits, officials said.   

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Printable version | May 24, 2022 10:32:02 pm |