Delhi civic workers divided over suspending strike

The Swatantra Mazdoor Vikas Sanyukt Morcha, a union exclusively of sanitation workers, refused to suspend the strike till the next court hearing.

New Delhi: Don't expect clearing up of the litter on the streets of the national capital any time soon! Soon after striking civic workers assured the Delhi High Court on Monday to suspend their ongoing agitation, differences arose among them on resumption of work.

“We have suspended our strike till the next hearing on Wednesday after the court's assurance. Our workers will resume work from tomorrow (Tuesday),” said Rajesh Mishra, president of the United Front of MCD Employees which represents municipal engineers, nurses, gardeners and sanitation workers etc.

However, the Swatantra Mazdoor Vikas Sanyukt Morcha, a union exclusively of sanitation workers, refused to suspend the strike till the next court hearing, alleging that the municipal corporations of Delhi were “misrepresenting” facts before the court.

“We have not ended our strike and will not return to work till all our issues are settled. This includes clearing of salaries and arrears, as well as confirming ad hoc employees in service,” Morcha president Sanjay Gehlot said.

“The corporations are misrepresenting facts before the court that they have cleared all arrears of salaries till January. On Wednesday, we will go to the court with updated bank passbooks,” Gehlot added.

Nevertheless, YS Mann, spokesman for the north and east Delhi municipal corporations, said funds have already been released for paying the salaries till January.

“The headquarters have already released the funds for clearing the salary dues of all employees till December. By February 15, all employees will get their salaries till January,” Mann told IANS.

“If some people have not got salaries, it may be due to delay at the zonal level, and not due to lack of funds,” he added.

Earlier, the striking employees of the three civic bodies in Delhi had agreed to call off their strike and resume work following the intervention of the Delhi High Court.

A division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath asked the civic workers to call off their strike as they had been paid their January salary.

The joint front of sanitation workers assured the bench that they would end the strike immediately and resume work.

"All the safai karamchaaris are now calling off the strike and resuming work immediately. We will monitor this petition (for further hearing on arrears issue)," the bench said, taking into note the submissions of the safai karamcharis union.