TN sanitary workers demand permanent jobs, salary hike
The workers said they have been working 12-hour days on a monthly salary of ₹1,500, since 2014
About 3,140 sanitary workers, who have been working at primary health centres (PHC) on a contract basis since 2005, are demanding regularisation of their services and an increase in pay. They have been drawing ₹1,500 a month for nearly seven years and work for 12 hours a day. Each PHC had two sanitary workers who work in two shifts.
On Sunday, nearly 300 members of the Tamil Nadu PHC Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) Sanitary Workers Welfare Association, staged a demonstration in Chennai. A.R. Shanthi, general secretary of the association, said the sanitary workers have been working for a long time and should be made permanent. “They work for 12 hours a day. There is no attendance registry too,” she said.
Nila Oli, one of the workers, said they were first recruited in 2005 through village panchayats, and then roped under the RCH programme in 2008. “We clean the delivery room and wards in the PHCs. When we started, we were paid ₹500. This was increased to ₹1,000 after three years and later to ₹1,500 in 2014. The amount remains the same till now. We are requesting the State government to make us permanent employees,” she said. “We do not have a weekly off or any other benefits. We want the government to provide us with uniforms,” she added.
The workers are demanding a salary on par with the permanent sanitary workers, medical benefits, a weekly off, medical and maternity leave, and for their work hours to be reduced from 12 to eight per day. In addition, they demanded that they should be allowed to sign in the attendance register.