Nearly 10,000 employees of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) have announced a strike starting from March 14, which will affect various services such as property tax collection, building plan sanctioning, and insecticide spraying. The workers are pressing for their demands, which include an increase in conveyance allowance, release of sixth and seventh pay commission arrears, and other facilities The strike is seen as a hurdle obstructing the preparations of the upcoming C20, a lead up to the G 20 summit on March 20-21.
President of Rashtriya Nagpur Corporation Employees’ Association (INTUC), Surendra Tingne, claimed that all clerical and technical staff from 10 zonal offices would not work. However, the sanitary workers, health staff at NMC’s clinics, hospitals, primary health centres, and workforce from NMC’s fire and emergency services department are exempt from participating in the strike.
Tingne rued that the civic body and Maharashtra government have funds to spend for the G20 summit, but they don’t have money for their employees who are providing various government and civic services to the taxpayers. The NMC is spending almost INR 200 crore for the C20 summit, but it has no money when it comes to paying NMC employees’ arrears of the sixth and seventh pay commissions. Tingne urged the government to provide financial support to civic bodies such as NMC to settle outstanding payments for the sixth and seventh pay commissions owed to their employees.
Tingne demanded the implementation of recommendations of the 7th pay commission for NMC employees, including revision in conveyance allowance. He cited an example of NMC employees getting INR 450 as transport allowance while it was recommended to be INR 2,700 per month as per the 7th pay commission. Tingne demanded that appointments on compassionate grounds in the civic body should be done away with, the retirement age to be increased to 60 years from the existing 58, and the implementation of a new pension scheme. The union also demanded the implementation of a minimum wage for contractual workers and giving them preference while filling up vacant posts.
The union demanded that the government should make sanitary workers who have completed 20 years of service permanent, and if there are no posts, then it should create posts. The strike, if prolonged, may cause inconvenience to the citizens of Nagpur, and the civic body needs to resolve the issues with the employees to avoid any further disruptions. It remains to be seen if the government and NMC authorities can come to a resolution with the striking employees.
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