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Mumbai civic workers on strike; essential services hit

Tuesday September 20, 2011 06:03:26 PM, IANS

Mumbai: Surgeries and emergency services in several civic body-run hospitals were crippled across the city Tuesday as over a lakh civic employees went on an indefinite strike demanding a salary hike as per the Sixth Pay Commission.

Over 50 percent of employees in civic body-run hospitals were absent from work as nurses, ward boys, Class-IV employees and conservancy staff joined in the agitation called by employees of the Municipal Mazdoor Union.

The absence of nurses and ward boys at municipal hospitals owing to the strike has caused hardship for patients.

"Out of over 1,300 nurses in civic body-run hospitals only 545 nurses were present on duty," a municipal official said.

"Again, out of over 55,000 labour staff only some 12,000 workers were present at work today, bringing the figure to only 21.5 percent of the total staff," the official added.

Alleging that the civic administration has failed to revise the salaries of its employees, Sharad Rao, the convenor of the Municipal Mazdoor Union said that the administration failed despite an assurance given on Aug 27.

"There were no fruitful talks. The implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission is being delayed unnecessarily," said Rao said after his meeting with the municipal authorities.

Municipal Commissioner Subodh Kumar, however, assured the smooth functioning of the city sans any disruptions.

The civic employees have been demanding salary hikes along with better House Rent Allowance (HRA), travel allowance, basic pay, dearness allowance, working hours and granting of leaves.

The BMC employees union has warned that their indefinite strike will continue if its demands for a hike in wages are not met by the civic administration.

Members of the Municipal Mazdoor Union are also scheduled to meet Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray to take up the matter with them.

The strike is severely affecting the essential services such as water supply, health, fire brigade and conservancy.

The authorities have initiated talks with state home guard, civil defence workers and NGO staff to press them into action in view of the strike so that essential services are not affected.





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