HYDERABAD: As President Ram Nath Kovind reaches Hyderabad on his annual Southern sojourn at Rashtrapati Nilayam in Bolarum today, the sanitation workers outsourced by the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) will stop picking up garbage as a protest against the non-release of their salaries for the last five months. Starting Friday, no sanitation worker will clear garbage from the streets that come under the Secunderabad Cantonment limits. The workers are threatening to go on an indefinite strike due to the authorities’ ineptness in paying their wages for the last five months. Interestingly, the contractors have also joined hands with the workers as the SCB have not cleared their bills either.
The trade union of garbage lifters and truck drivers will participate in the protest; on the other hand, workers union of sweepers have decided to stay away from it as the board has assured to clear their wages in a week’s time. The garbage lifters are entitled to a wage of Rs 5000-6000 per month, whereas the truck drivers earn around Rs 8,000 per month.
As many as 100 outsourced sanitation workers lift garbage every day from the cantonment area spread across 40.17 sq km. They have decided to absent from their duties indefinitely at the same time that President Kovind visits Bolarum, for their multiple pleas to the authorities concerned have fallen in deaf ears. Speaking to Express, Chavithi Skylab, a sanitation worker, said that authorities and contractors are indulging in a blame game regarding their wages. “Without wages, how can we run our families? Even as Christmas is round the corner, authorities are turning a blind eye towards us. Forget about celebrating Christmas, our families are unable to meet our daily needs,” he said.
The wages are to be paid by contractors, said Narasimha, president of the All India Trade Union Congress. “How can contractors clear the pending wages if bills have not been cleared by the SCB? We request authorities to intervene the end the impasse,” said Narasimha. Joint Chief Executive Officer of SCB, Ramswroop Haritwal, admitted that wages were not paid due to lack of funds in the board. “We assure that the pending salaries of workers will be cleared in a week,” said Haritwal.