33,000 PHE workers to go on strike, say wages not paid

ibune News Service

Jammu, February 6

As many as 33,000 daily rated workers in the public health engineering (PHE) department in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will go on a 24-hour strike on February 8 to protest the denial of regular wages to them.

The strike is likely to affect the water supply in Jammu and other parts of the Union Territory.

Under the banner of the PHE Employees United Front, workers had served a 15-day ultimatum on the UT administration, seeking redress of their demands.

For years, daily rated workers, who are the backbone of the PHE department, have been demanding regular wages. The workers had hoped that their demands would be met after the abrogation of Article 370, but the UT administration has done nothing so far to redress their grievances.

“For years, the daily rated workers have been denied wages and the regularisation process is going on at a snail’s pace. It is a violation of rules and the fundamental rights of workers who are working to ensure drinking water supply to people,” said Bakshi Singh, PHE Employees United Front leader.

The major demands of the workers include regularisation of their jobs as per SRO-64, payment of monthly wages to all workers, release of pending wages and wages as per the Central government norms.

Some sections of regular employees are also seeking rationalisation in the promotion process.

“We appeal to the people to support our struggle as thousands of workers are facing discrimination for years. This is unjustified,” said Tanveer Hussain, a representative of the daily rated workers.

There are an estimated 22,000 daily rated workers in the Jammu division and 11,000 in the Kashmir valley. A majority of them have been protesting for years to demand regular salaries and regularisation of their jobs as had been promised to them by the previous state governments.

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