The city’s civic workers say that their contractors have not been marking their attendance and are refusing to pay them.

No pay for three months no sick leaves Bengalurus pourakarmikas protest outside BBMP office
news Labour Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - 18:47

Bengaluru’s civic workers are instrumental in keeping the city clean, but they haven’t been given safety equipment or sick leaves, and now have not been given three months’ pay as well.

On Tuesday, several BBMP civic workers (pourakarmikas) protested outside the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Office in Bengaluru.

The protest took place under the aegis of BBMP Guttige Pourakarmikara Sangha. The civic workers said that the contractors have not been marking their attendance, and has been refusing to pay them.

“Since the past three days, SWM Contractors, in-charge of hiring civic workers to sweep Bengaluru streets, have been telling us to go home and not work. They are not paying the drivers of the garbage trucks as well,” said Rathnamma, a civic worker.

Moreover, these contract employees alleged that the contractors have threatened to dismiss them if they did not pay heed to their orders.

“They have not paid us three months’ salary. After a long fight, six months ago, our pay was increased to Rs 12,440 per month. Most of us have not received our pay for the last three months. Our contractor, Hema Raju, told us that the BBMP has not approved the bills that were submitted and that the health officer has refused to sign the bill,” said Jayalakhmamma, a 45-year-old civic worker from Magadi Road.

Several civic workers said that two days ago, when they went to Hema Raju to demand their payment, the Health Officer, Hanumantharaya, was also present.

“We questioned Hanumantharaya, and he blamed the Joint Commissioner (Solid Waste Management), stating that he had not signed the bills which were submitted. We will protest outside Vidhana Soudha if necessary. We have no electricity as we have not paid bills for two months now. We do not have money to buy water from tankers. When we demanded our money, Hema Raju snatched our brooms and threw them into the garbage. He said that he will ensure that we won’t get paid,” Anjanamma, a civic worker from Sunkanakatte said.

Civic workers said that the shoes, cleaning equipment and masks, which were to be provided by the contractors, have not been provided to them.

“We have to pick rags and waste paper and buy brooms for cleaning the streets. The contractor does not even give us cleaning equipment. For the past two months, we have had no money to buy food and we are living without electricity. The contractors have cheated us of our rightful pay. When everyone was celebrating the Ganesha festival, we did not even have money to buy a kilo of rice. My son and I drank water and slept,” said Rathnamma.

Moreover, the contract workers alleged that they are not given any days off, even if they fall sick. The pourakarmikas said that the contractor threatens to fire them if they ask for leave.

“Two months ago, I was diagnosed with having kidney stones and the scan revealed a bump on my left kidney. I do not have money for the test to find out what the lump is. Doctors in the private hospital said that it would cost Rs 35,000 for the surgery to remove the kidney stones. When I had asked the contractor for a few hours off to visit the hospital, he did not allow me to go. With the help of my co-workers, I went after work. Now I have no money for treatment,” Sarojamma, a 47-year-old civic worker from Anjana Nagar said.

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