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Bengaluru: Civic workers begin indefinite strike, demand permanent jobs | Bengaluru

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Over 15000 Porakarmikas (civic workers) on Friday began an indefinite strike in Bengaluru, demanding that their jobs be made permanent from the existing contract system and better salary to take care of their families.

The pourakarmikas, waste collectors and the entire manual labour ecosystem to keep Bengaluru clean commenced their strike at Bengaluru’s freedom park, demanding for dignified working conditions, including provision of safety equipment, post-retirement benefits, and permanency of jobs, along with other welfare measures.

Also read: B’luru civic workers demand safety gear after one dies of Covid

The protest is orgainsed by the Powrakarmikara Sanghatanegala Janti Horata Samiti, of which BBMP Powrakarmikara Sangha is a co-organiser.

These civic workers are the backbone of every city corporation in Karnataka and especially Bengaluru which houses over 12million of the total 70million people in the state.

“We have been doing this work for the past 20 years but are yet to be made permanent. The salaries they pay are not enough for house rent, to pay our children’s school fees or to survive. We will continue our strike till our jobs are made permanent,” said one pourakarmika, who did not wish to be named.

While Bengaluru, India’s technology hub, has been spending crores on mechanisation of sweepers and other equipment to keep its streets clean, it is the large army of pourakarmikas who do bulk of the work and are seen sweeping and collecting garbage from streets and other places manually.

Bengaluru generates around 5000metric tonnes of waste every day and only a small portion of this actually goes to recycling. The waste collection, in large localities, is done with a small auto which transfers it to bigger trucks which then makes its way into segregation units or sometimes, landfills.

The strike comes at a time when Karnataka, particularly Bengaluru, has seen a sharp uptick in Covid-19 infections.

The garbage crisis, where waste was not collected for many days in Bengaluru in 2012, had made global headlines, denting the city’s reputation as a global IT hub.

Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai is scheduled to hold a meeting to discuss the issues of pourakarmikas on Friday evening.

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