Cleaning staff on strike over bonus, railwaly station a mess
As 130 workers refuse to resume duty, filth piles up on tracks, platforms, toilets
From the past two days, conservancy workers at Pune Railway Station have stopped work to protest against unpaid bonus, which was earlier assured by their contractor. With 130 workers deciding not to clear the rubbish, filth on the tracks, toilets and platforms is piling up, impelling commuters to make their way through the collected garbage.
The railways have washed their hands of the mess, pinning the responsibility on the contractor. “Contractor SIGMA agency handles cleanliness work of the station. We have cleared all payments to that agency. So the workers and agency should resolve the issue among themselves. The railway administration cannot do anything,” said Y K Singh, spokesperson, Pune Railway Division.
“Sanjay Gayakwad is the main contractor and head of SIGMA. This agency was appointed in 2010. We have many grievances with them since the last two years. We don’t have uniforms and other facilities,” Jadhav added.
Despite several attempts, Gayakwad was not available for comment. When Amol Hajare, field officer of SIGMA was instead contacted, he said, “The agency had assured payment of bonus to the workers. But due to some financial constraints, they are unable to pay them. Gayakwad and the workers have filed a case in the labour court. A decision is expected in the next two days.”