Hyderabad municipal workers protest over salary dues, layoffs

The outsourced workers of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation went on a strike on 23 June until the officials agreed to their demands.

ByAjay Tomar

Published Jun 24, 2022 | 3:03 PMUpdatedJul 22, 2022 | 12:00 PM

GHMC workers protest outside the Commissioner's office

The outsourced workers of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) went on a strike on Thursday, 23 June over unjust layoffs and salary cuts imposed by the corporation over the past few months.

GHMC Additional Commissioner Badhavath Santhosh assured the union that the 700 workers terminated recently would be reinstated.

Santhosh also assure that the Corporation would write to the government seeking regularisation of the outsourced workers.

A senior GHMC official, however, told the South First that the Corporation is still looking into the workers’ demands and is yet to make a decision.

Demand for job regularisation

Greater Hyderabad Municipal Employees Union president Udharri Gopal explained to South First, “We are protesting because the chief minister and the GHMC did not fulfil their promise of regularising the jobs of 27,500 outsourced workers.”

He added that the GHMC was, instead, taking away existing jobs and has terminated around 700 workers from the Transport Department.

Gopal added that the authorities had also reneged on the promise to increase outsourced workers’ salaries from ₹17,500 to ₹25,000, on a par with permanent workers.

He also pointed out that around 3,300 permanent employees have not been paid Dearness Allowances (DA) for the past year.

He alleged that the layoffs began gradually since the private civic infrastructure company Ramky was given a contract in 2012.

‘Pay cuts are unfair’

The union leader also said that the workers’ salaries are deducted every month under the false pretext of insufficient attendance.

“The GHMC should buy its own biometric attendance machines instead of the rented ones, which are faulty. Right now it spends around ₹88 lakh a month to rent them,” he said.

Two women working as sweepers for the corporation told South First that there have been cuts in their salaries for the past few months.

“When we asked our supervisor, he said that the attendance machines showed that we were absent,” they said, denying that they were absent for work.

The union leader added that even the sweeping machines of the corporation don’t work properly.

Chindham Mallesh, president of the outsourced workers’ union, told South First that they wrote several letters to the GHMC commissioner and zonal commissioners imploring them to reinstate the workers who were fired on false grounds.

“There was no response from the officials. So we were left with no choice other than calling for this protest,” he said.

One-day strike

On 23 June, the workers protested in front of the corporation headquarters on Tank Bund Road and demanded that the GHMC pay their full dues and regularise their services.

They displayed placards and raised slogans criticising Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao, and the GHMC for turning a deaf ear to them.

They also burnt the chief minister’s effigy outside the GHMC headquarters.

While the municipal workers took part in the protests by the hundreds, they alleged that most of their colleagues were stopped from reaching the venue by the police.

The workers also went on a strike against pay cuts in May this year, protesting in front of the GHMC zonal office near the Charminar.