Thousands of students gathered at the Town Hall in Bangalore, to stage a protest in solidarity with women pourakarmikas—civic workers who sweep roads and collect garbage on International Women’s Day.
Pourakarmikas have been protesting for their rights and demanding salaries they have been denied, along with basic cleaning apparatus like safety gloves, carts and broomsticks to work with. The state government doubled the salaries of civic workers from Rs 7,730 a month to Rs 14,439. The revised salaries were to come into effect in August. But no pay raise has been implemented. In fact, the salary payment as per the old structure is irregular.
Shabana, 34, who works in Koramangala said, “Most of us have not received our salaries since September. What is even more pitiful is that we have to work without the necessary apparatus such as uniforms, trolleys, hand gloves, etc. Even the garbage contractors complain that they have not been paid by the BBMP and hence cannot pay us.”
According to the BBMP Contract Pourakarmika Union, there are nearly 32,000 contract municipal workers in the city and none of them has received the revised salary.
In a similar incident in Peenya, Bangalore, women garment factory workers staged a silent march wearing black clothes on Monday, March 6, 2017. They have been protesting against horrible working conditions – working overtime, harassment by male superiors, no separate toilet facility and unequal wages. In April 2016, the government had introduced Provident Fund rules, which witnessed a massive backlash and thus had to rolled back.