Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, September 11
Door-to-door garbage collectors continued to strike work in Shimla. While several areas of the city are stinking, political parties are busy targeting the civic administration.
The Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP accused the Municipal Corporation for mishandling the issue.
Supporting the workers’ demand for higher wages, former president of the HP Municipal Workers Federation Kishori Lal Sharma lashed out at the authorities for adopting repressive measures to end the strike.
Sharma said workers in the hotel industry were getting higher wages and in case, their demand was not met, the impasse would continue. Seeking the government intervention, he said the Municipal Corporation should be directed to accept the demands of the workers.
The AAP has criticised the MC for implementing the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against the striking workers. Leaders said it was for the first time that the Act had been enforced against workers of an NGO.
Attacking the corporation authorities for terminating the striking workers, AAP spokesman Subhash Chandra asked if the approval of the House had been sought before dismissing the workers.
Chandra said the workers were collecting lakhs of rupees from residents, but the civic body was not giving them their due.
State BJP spokesman Ganesh Dutt hit out at the MC saying the Mayor and Deputy Mayor belonging to CPI(M) were denying the workers their rights and not pressing the society to pay higher wages to the workers.
However, the civic authorities claimed that every possible step was being taken to give justice to workers. They said the wages had been raised by more than 100 per cent from Rs 3,300 to Rs 7,700 per month.
The strike of the workers cannot be considered as legal and 298 out of the 579 workers have returned to work. Forty workers were issued notices to return to work by September 2 while 12 more have joined duty.
“The remaining 28 have been terminated,” the MC spokesman said.
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