The Karnataka government’s Finance Department has given nod to regularise 12,872 more pourakarmikas in the state. According to All India Central Council of Trade Unions, there are more than 33,000 pourakarmikas in the state, out of which nearly 11,000 pourakarmikas were regularised in September 2022. The approval given by the Finance Department now paves the way for regularisation of more pourakarmikas across the state.
“We welcome this decision of the government and feel that this is a great victory in the struggle of civil servants. We demand that all civil servants including direct paid civil servants, drivers of waste vehicles, cleaners, loaders, sewers and supervisors working in the waste management department of urban local bodies of the state should be regularised,” said a statement issued by AICCTU.
Currently, pourakarmikas earn wages between Rs 12,000 to Rs 17,000. Their regularisation would make them eligible for benefits such as pension, which are not given to contract workers.
On July 1, 2022, AICCTU had organised a state-wide indefinite protest demanding regularisation of pourakarmikas, along with other contractual workers such as drivers and helpers, with a minimum monthly salary of Rs 30,000. The protest was called off after four days after the union received assurance from Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai that their demands would be met within three months.
When the state government initially announced the regularisation of pourakarmikas, it included 11,133 pourakarmikas in the state including 3,673 pourakarmikas in Bengaluru. The AICCTU had claimed that this was only one third of the pourakarmikas in the state. In September 2022, the AICCTU had warned that the organisation will be holding another strike to ensure all civic workers are regularised.