Around 4, 000 contract workers of the Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS) and the nearby Bhabha Atomic Power Station have been on an indefinite strike since Monday demanding increased pay scales and permanent jobs.
The TAPS Station Director Ravindra Nath said the strike had not yet affected the plant’s operations. “There won’t be any effect on the day-to-day operations of the nuclear plant. The government will have to take a decision on the demands raised by the workers,” he said.
Those on strike in TAPS work in departments ranging from cleaning the premises to the fuel handling section. “All of us are given the same monthly salary of Rs.6, 500, irrespective of work we do,” Lochan Chowdhary, one of the workers on strike said.
The majority of them are from families who gave up their land for the TAPS. They have been demanding permanent jobs since 2008. Most of them have been working in the plant for at least 7 years.
The contract workers from the BARC have joined the strike, demanding benefits from the Central government.
“We work on contract for the Central government, but those who hire us do not seem to follow any rules. We demand equal pay to all and will not rest until we get it,” said Narendra Arekar, an employee from BARC at Tarapur. He said that majority of the workers were deprived of Travel Allowance, Provident Fund and yearly bonus.
“We work throughout the year without break, which shows they need our service. We should be given the equal pay scale as given to the permanent employees and not the minimum wage,” said Mr. Chowdhary.