BENGALURU: On March 8, International Women’s Day, the () BBMP Contract Pourakarmikas Union of Bengaluru went on a strike and a rally to intensify their ongoing struggle for a life with dignity at BBMP main office, Corporation Circle.
An activist present at the strike said, ” The overwhelming majority of Pourakarmikas are women and 97% of Pourakarmikas are from the Madiga community, a Dalit community that has been historically forced to do the dirty work that the dominant castes have refused to confront.
Sumirta Raju, Pourakarmika from ward no. 188 said, ” We get Rs 6750 out of which we have to pay for house rent, water and electricity bills. What do we have in hand for eating? How do we send our kids to school ? How do we survive ? We do not get benefits like PF and ESI card benefits? All we ask for is the salary of Rs 14400 which is supposed to be our pay.”
Manjula Lakshmipati from ward no. 80 said, “In our ward they don’t even give us the hand gloves, masks and brooms. And our contractor Pandu, has refused to sign for our PF even though we have worked for 4 years. He ended up saying we worked only for one year.
Many ordinary citizens, students , civil society organisations came forward and supported the Pourakarmikas. The major demands were as follows 1.Immediate payment of revised minimum wages, which were due from August 2016 and arrears as well. 2.Regularise the workers until which time the contract system should be abolished and workers should be paid directly by the BBMP. 3. Provision of all facilities including drinking water, latrines, rest rooms, protective wear as also declaration of weekly off, national holidays and festival holidays for contract Pourakarmikas. 4. Immediately ensure full compliance with the sexual harassment of women at workplace Act, 2013.