Two months without pay: workers struggle to get by 

As sanitation staff continue to strike, Gandhai Hospital starts to stink.

Published: 12th July 2017 09:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th July 2017 09:09 AM   |  A+A-

(Above) Sanitation workers staging protest demanding their dues to be cleared; (below) the premises remaining unclean at Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad on Tuesday | r satish babu

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Bathrooms and corridors at Gandhi Hospital were emanating stench on Tuesday as over 250 sanitation employees went on a strike over non-payment of salaries. Garbage bins were overflowing with trash and waste materials were found along the corridors.

The situation could become worse from Wednesday if the employees continued to stage the strike.  Explaining their plight, a sanitation employee said that she had been skipping lunch as she was unable to afford due to non-payment of salaries. 

Showing a glass containing chilli powder paste, a protesting employee, Idhuru Lakshmi said, “Since I ran out of money to buy vegetables, I am not cooking curries. Instead, I have been eating rice mixed only with chili powder. Since it become uneasy to eat, I sometimes make paste of it by adding water and have it with rice.” 

Another employee said that she cannot think of buying a kilo of tomato, which is costing around `80.
The employees said that the reasons are plenty for them to take up the protest. They were unable to pay rents, bus tickets to commute. Also they alleged that day-to-day expenses have become a challenge. 
Monthly salary of the employees is `9,000 per month. After ESI and PF cuts, they get `7,820. They are employed on contract basis.

All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) Hyderabad City Council’s general secretary M Narsimha said that the strike will continue till money was deposited in the accounts of the employees. In the past six months, they launched protest thrice as they faced similar issue earlier too.
Another employee, Kishtamma said that patients and attendants would face inconvenience if they continue strike as their daily job includes cleaning blood and waste in Operation Theatre (OT), washing bathrooms, sweeping and mopping floors, and other tasks involved with cleaning.

The salary of `7,820 contributes major share in meeting monthly expenses. 
“Our salary of `7,820 and of other family members help in meeting the expenses. Imagine our situation if we don’t get the money for two months,” said another sanitation employee. Besides, academic years started in June and the employees had to take loans to pay school and college fees.
It was learnt that the hospital’s superintendent Dr P Shravan Kumar sought appointment of the State’s Director of Medical Education (DME) Dr K Ramesh Reddy to discuss the issue. 

sanitation at stake
Over 250 sanitation employees at Gandhi Hospital launched strike as their salaries are still pending
They faced similar issue three times in the past six months. Money was deposited when they staged protest
Garbage bins were over-flowing, bathrooms were not cleaned
Strike to continue till salaries were deposited in accounts of the employees
With no money to buy veggies, employees have been skipping lunch and a few are forced to eat rice with chilli powder 
They are not able to pay monthly rentals, schools fees, and other expenses

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