Pourakarmikas say that the present contract system exploits them.

 Regularise our services Thousands of pourakarmikas protest in Karnataka
news Protest Monday, June 12, 2017 - 15:50

Thousands of contract pourakarmikas (women sanitation workers) across Karnataka went on a strike on Monday demanding the regularisation of their services.

Over 4,000 workers gathered in protest at the Banappa Park in Bengaluru alone stating their demands.

The state cabinet had in 2016 decided that it would regularise the services of contract pourakarmikas from March 2017.

"It has been a year but the government has not lived up to its words. There are 45,000 contract pourakarmikas in the state and the present system only exploits them. The government is just not ready to take any responsibility," former Karnataka State Safai Karmachari Commission Chairman Narayana said.

Till the decision is finally implemented, the protestors want the government to directly pay salaries to the workers instead of paying through contractors. This, they say, will bring down corruption and ensure that contractors don't cheat the workers.

"We want the contract system abolished. We want pourakarmikas to get facilities just like regular government employees get, like getting wage increment, holidays, sick leave, maternity benefits, etc.," said S Balan, Karnataka State President of AICCTU.

Workers say the strike will go on till their demands are met.

This protest comes just a few months after hundreds of sanitation workers gathered in Bengaluru demanding they be paid their promised salaries. The women alleged that even though the government had announced a pay hike for them, the BBMP was only paying them half their salary.

“We have to work from 6.30 am to 1.00 pm every day. On Wednesdays and Sundays, we have to work from 6.30am to 11.00 am. We don’t get leave for festivals or when we fall sick. Most of us are over 35 years old. We get a meagre Rs 7,000 a month, and if we fall sick, we lose Rs 230 for that day. The rent and electricity for my house come up to Rs 4,500 and I am left with nothing. Most of the time, I struggle to feed my sons,” Dhanalakshmi, a pourakarmika in the city, had then told The News Minute.

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