Pourakarmikas Protest for Wage Arrears
The BBMP Guttige Pourakarmikara Sangha undertook a protest on the International Women’s Day (March 8th) this year, seeking arrears of their increased wages, weekly and national holidays, along with other demands. The BBMP Mayor and Commissioner, along with other officials met a delegation of the Pourakarmika Union where they promised to release arrears at the earliest, and to call for a larger meeting to discuss the mechanism of weekly and national holidays.
About 2,000 workers attended the protest, while several CSOs also came in support of the workers on the day. Since the BBMP, for the very first time, was observing women’s day on their premises on the same day, the officials did not take too well to the protest by the Pourakarmikas. They were told that they were “ruining” their celebrations and defaming the Mayor (who happened to be the organiser of the Women’s Day celebration and “is a woman” too) by holding the protest against the Mayor herself. This showed the apathy of the BBMP officials as most Pourakarmikas are women, who struggle to earn a dignified living. Not only do these Pourakarmikas not get wages on time, but they don’t get their full wages. The contractors pocket a substantial amount of their salaries, do not give safety equipment, and work on all days of the week, without sick leaves or casual leaves.