| Municipal workers sit on a dharna. Telegraph picture |
Balangir, Oct. 22: The cease work agitation of the Grade III and IV municipality employees entered the second day.
The employees, mainly consist of field staff such as, sweepers, garbage and drain cleaners and tractor drivers, locked the office from outside and sat on a dharna. The workers are demanding their 60 per cent salary arrear as per the Sixth Pay Commission, which is long pending, and 29 per cent dearness allowance apart from other demands.
In March, the workers launched a cease work demanding 40 per cent salary arrear as per the Sixth Pay Commission. At that time, the protest lasted for five days. District collector Sailendra Narayan Dey had to intervene to solve the matter. The workers were paid 40 per cent of their arrear and the rest 60 per cent was promised before July. Dhanmat Kumbhar, a protester, said the municipal authorities were not taking any step to pay the dues.
“We urged the municipality chairperson several times to disburse our dues, but she ignored. She even avoided our plea to hold a meet over the issue. We will continue the cease work till our demands are fulfilled,” Kumbhar said.
On Thursday, Dey instructed executive officer of the Balangir Municipality to settle the demand. Accordingly, a meet was called, but the chairperson did not turn up.
President of the Western Orissa Municipal Employees Federation Lalit Nayak said the chairperson had been traceless since two days. “The chairperson is intentionally avoiding the meet. Such attitude will not be tolerated. The workers will fight till they get justice,” Nayak said.
“At present, we don’t have enough funds to pay the arrears,” said municipality executive officer Pradeep Gardia.
Residents of Balangir have been facing civic problems for the last two days as heaps of garbage are found dumped at many places.