While most of India is struggling to limp back to normalcy, there seems to be no dearth of strikes and protests, with many employees across the country demanding higher salaries or regularisation of their jobs.
Almost 8,200 outsourced and contractual employees of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC), Punjab Roadways and the Punbus have gone on an indefinite strike, with 80 per cent of buses remaining parked. The employees are demanding to be regularised. The transport department had to deploy their regular staff, presently on desk jobs, on field duties to help lessen the impact of the strike.
In Ludhiana, staff nurses with support from the Ludhiana Nursing Association agitated outside the civil surgeon’s office. Hundreds of nurses deputed at hospitals and health centres across Ludhiana, Khanna, Samrala, Payal, and Jagraon participated in the agitation. In Jalandhar too, nurses went on a two-day mass leave seeking an audience with senior officials to present their case. The Punjab Government Nurses’ Association has been demanding regularisation of the services of all nursing staff, as well as salary increments. The nurses want their designation to be changed to ‘nursing officer’ instead of ‘staff nurse’. They also wish to be moved to Grade B from Grade C.
Meanwhile, in Bihar, 30,000 sanitation workers have gone on strike demanding equal pay for equal work and regularisation of their jobs. Thousands of sanitation workers took part in the indefinite strike across the state. Among other things, they want the concept of ‘outsourcing work’ to be done away with. The strike was called by Bihar Local Bodies Karamchari Sanyukt Sangharsh Morcha and Bihar Rajya Sthaniye Nikay Karamchari Mahasangh.
In August, these organisations had warned the authorities that they would resort to a strike if their demands were not fulfilled.
Down south, in Bengaluru, waste pickers are protesting against the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for not raising their salaries. These workers too are demanding regularisation of their services and wish to be employed directly by the BBMP and receive all associated benefits.