Approximately 15,000 outsourced workers in Karnataka, mainly consisting of sanitation workers, will go on strike starting February 01.
The workers are demanding direct payment and permanent employment with the 330 urban local bodies in the state. However, workers in Bengaluru will not participate in the strike.
According to a press release by the workers’ union, while some street sweepers were recruited directly by the government in 2017, the situation for other outsourced workers remains unchanged. The press note states that the division among workers in the same department is not a sound policy and that the workers hope for support from the general public, despite the inconvenience the strike may cause.
The president of the Karnataka Urban Local Bodies Outsourced Workers’ Union, MB Naganna Gowda, spoke about the challenges faced by workers. He mentioned that the contract lobby is strong in Karnataka and determined to prevent the implementation of the direct payment system for all sanitation workers.
The union, established in 2002 and claiming to have 10,000 members, represents outsourced employees and is not affiliated with any central trade unions. While the street sweepers were switched to the direct payment system by the Congress government in 2017, loaders and drivers remained as contractual employees.
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