Infuriated state government staff declare indefinite strikes all across India

Electricity department staff in Puducherry, transport staff in Uttarakhand, and contractual workers in Delhi are protesting the failure of the authorities to address their grievances


The electricity department employees of Puducherry have decided to go on an indefinite strike from Monday, January 11, 2021 to stage their agitation against privatisation of the discom of the Union Territory.

Several meetings were held by the electricity engineers and Employees Privatisation Protest Committee, with the Chief Minister, the chief officials and the Chief Secretary to discuss this issue. The employees do not want to allow any move directed towards privatisation of the Department as the people of the region would suffer deeply as a consequence, in addition to the employees.

The legislative assembly had adopted a resolution compiling these demands and forwarded it to the Lieutenant Governor, who was to further pass on the plea to the Union Home Ministry. However, this did not happen and the Lieutenant Governor by himself gave a recommendation for the department to be privatised, as a result of which the Union Government has already taken actions in that direction.

A notice was issued on December 24 stating that all unions of government employees will jointly go on an indefinite strike to protest against this unilateral move.

Meanwhile, in Delhi, contractual workers working under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan staged a sit-in in front of the Chief Minister’s residence, with their children, to protest against the move of transferring them to locations as far as 250 to 300 kms away from their houses.

Since most of these employees are women, the protestors claim it a foul move aimed at harassing them. For women, the difficulty multiplies as they will be unable to look after their households and children.

Moreover, this decision, taken under the rationalisation policy by the Education Department infuriated the employees as they have been working for more than 10 years now, without any consolidated move towards filling of vacancies and reinstating them at regularised positions.

The protesters have been assured in writing that the Delhi Chief Minister will communicate with them over a meeting, supposed to be held on Jan 12, which if it turns out to be inconsequential, may fuel further protests in the capital.

Elsewhere, nearly 1200 employees of the Uttarakhand Transport Corporation (UTC), including bus conductors and drivers, have gone on an indefinite strike, in a move to protest against the authorities. They have not received their salaries for five months now.

The bus services from Dehradun, Kotdwar, Rishikesh, Roorkee and Haridwar, have been terminated temporarily as the Uttaranchal Roadways Employees Union steered the agitation. Consequently, hundreds of passengers were left stranded, some of them had to head back home or book expensive taxis to go to their destinations. Around 400 buses were off the bus depot.

The Union had issued a notice to the management on November 9, 2020, which was left unattended to.

Meanwhile, the MCD teachers’ union in Delhi expressed their rage over not being paid for nearly five months, through their reluctance to be a part of the Covid-19 inoculation drive or even assist the civic bodies for the purpose of vaccination.

Although there was no formal announcement of teachers being a part of the drive, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had recommended that their help would be instrumental to the drive. He had also stated that the teachers of the schools run by the Delhi Government and the MCD will be included in the list of frontline workers to receive vaccination on a primary basis.

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