On 8th October 2018 the Delhi Police lathi charged thousands of safai workers of the East Delhi Nagar Nigam who were coming to demonstrate in front of Parliament House regarding the repeated delays in getting their wages and arrears. Many women and men workers were badly hurt due to this barbaric attack by the police.
These workers were demanding that they should be paid their arrears of three months as well as allowances, that contract and daily wage workers appointed since 1998 should be made permanent and that retired workers should be paid their gratuity, etc.
Thousands of safai workers of the East Delhi Nagar Nigam had been on a strike since 12th September 2018 for the above mentioned demands. The problem of not getting wages and allowances in time has been continuing for a number of years now.
The Prime Minister has been carrying out the Swachcha Bharat campaign all over the country with great pomp and show. Government representatives have been holding brooms and carrying out the fraud of the Swachchata campaign. Their photographs have been publicized in the media. However the government does not care at all for the workers who actually carry out safai. When they demand that they should be paid in time for the work they have done, the government gets them lathi-charged.
Safai workers are not alone in their struggle. Not only the safai workers, but clerical and supervisory staff, school teachers and workers, doctors, nurses and other hospital workers, gardeners and park workers, engineering staff, and workers of many other departments have also been forced to struggle from time to time for the timely payment of their wages and allowances. They have had to carry out dharnas, demonstrations and even strikes for these demands.
The strike ended on 9th October 2018 after an agreement between the Commissioner of East Delhi Nagar Nigam and the workers on strike. It has been agreed that the safai workers would be made permanent step by step. It has also been agreed that written orders would be issued immediately in this regard. Futher, the Commissioner has promised to give Diwali bonus, Dearness Allowance twice and to reinstate suspended workers.