The operators and drivers whose primary task is to collect garbage every day in the city, held a strike on Dec 2 demanding their salaries for the last five months.
Approximately 125 drivers and operators working under the Vijaypur City Corporation in various sections are fighting to get their pending wages of five months.
“We have not received a salary in June. Life has become difficult with hardly any savings left to run the family. We are still surviving with the wages that were given during lockdown and taking loans from the private money lenders,” said Mohsin who has been a driver at the corporation for teh past 12 years.
It’s not just Mohsin who has been wronged, the protest is the story of 124 such employees that are working on contract basis for the city corporation. In the last three months, there have been at least two protests staged by the Vijaypur City Corporation Motorists and Welfare Association for the same cause.
According to Vijaypura commissioner, Harsha Shetty, contractors have been paid but the contractors are withstanding the wages of the workers.
“ The payments of the contract workers have to be made by the contractors and we have asked him to make the payment as soon as possible. We have to pay the remaining five months wages and it is being delayed because the city corporation is facing the deficit of funds due to Covid-19 crisis,” said the Commissioner.
The city corporation needs around Rs 25 lakh every month to pay the wages for the motorists and operators of the Corporation. “The Corporation is facing the financial crunch because of the poor tax collection. Owing to Covid=19 crisis, many taxpayers mainly business establishments are yet to pay the taxes to the corporation. This has greatly affected the revenue of the Corporation,” claimed sources.
Chairman of the association, Shankar Chalavadi said that they have been seeking their salaries and have asked the contractors to clear the salaries.
“ When we ask the Contractors, they blame the city corporation for not paying their dues, and when we ask the commissioner, he blames contractors for the delay in wages. In this blame game, the drivers and operations are becoming victims. The authorities concerned should pay the pending wages in the earliest or else they have to face the consequences,” cautioned Shankar.
Deputy Commissioner, P Sunil Kumar said that, the city corporation is not delaying the payments of drivers and operators deliberately and that financial difficulties are the real cause for delay in payment of wages. He also promised to direct the contractors to pay the wages of at least two months. “If they fail to do so, they will be disqualified from the contract”, stated DC Sunil Kumar.