Conservancy workers protest privatisation in Chennai

The protesters demanded the assurance of fixed wages stipulated by minimum wages act'

Chennai: Greater Chennai Corporation’s conservancy workers staged a protest against the civic body’s move to privatise conservancy work in the city on Regional Deputy Commissioner (North) office premises on Wednesday.

The protesters demanded the assurance of fixed wages stipulated by ‘minimum wages act’. “If the corporation goes ahead with the privatisation of solid waste management, contract workers will be deprived of minimum wages fixed by an order from district collector,” said L. Srinivasalu, general secretary, Chennai Corporation Red flag union, said.

In the agitation, nearly 500 corporation workers participate and a majority of them were 'contract' conservancy workers. Chennai Corporation has already privatised conservancy works in the city long ago. A private firm has been undertaking conservancy works in zones of Adyar, Teynampet, Kodambakkam. Further, in a move to privatize solid waste management in all of its zones, the civic body had conducted a stakeholders meeting. Awakened by this, conservancy workers protested against the move.

“Conservancy workers were fleeced by contractors for a long time. They used to pay workers much less than the wage that is stipulated in contracts. After so many protests, corporation started depositing full wage ('346 per day) in bank accounts. If the contracts have given to private companies, they will again reduce wages,” Union's deputy general secretary D. Rajan said. Protestors also alleged that Chennai corporation is planning to implement privatisation on sub-contract basis. After continued agitations, corporation has slowed the process of privatization by giving big contracts. But it has planned to give ward-wise contracts to private companies, a protester said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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