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A2Z workers up in arms, seek dues

Over 100 workers of waste management firm A2Z staged a demonstration in front of the agency’s Bartand office in Dhanbad on Thursday, protesting against their retrenchment and delay in payment of dues.

With the cleaning agency withdrawing its services from Dhanbad, the protestors, including sweepers, supervisors and drivers, demanded immediate payment of their dues, besides job guarantee from the company.

They threatened to gherao Dhanbad Municipal Corporation (DMC) on Saturday if the civic body failed to reinstate them within 48 hours.

“We have been told that as the A2Z’s agreement with the corporation has been snapped, we will lose our jobs from this month,” said Penter Hadi, a sweeper from Premchand Nagar locality of Dhanbad.

“If we lose our job like this, we will be left with no option but to hang ourselves,” he said, adding they were ready to work for half their wages if their jobs could be saved.

Santosh Bansfore, a supervisor of A2Z, wondered how they could be thrown out without any notice.

“They should have given us three-months’ notice at least,” he added.

The agitating workers alleged they were yet to receive payment for August, besides December’s salary.

Around 400 workers, including 290 sweepers, 28 supervisors and 30 drivers, are on the payroll of A2Z in Dhanbad currently.

The head, collection and transportation, of the A2Z unit in Dhanbad, Dharmendra Tiwari, denied allegations of retrenchment.

“But, work in various blocks of Dhanbad has been stopped due to funds crunch and manpower shortage,” he said.

Tiwari added that they had asked for more funds from A2Z headquarters and would clear employees’ salaries for the month of December within a week.

The Gurgaon-based firm has decided to withdraw services from Dhanbad from January 20, citing lack of cooperation from the civic body and late payments as reasons.

Tiwari, however, said that they were yet to get any written response from the corporation.

The corporation, on its part, has decided to float fresh tenders to appoint a new agency after terminating A2Z’s agreement.

Chief executive officer, DMC, Balmukund Jha said, “The process of floating fresh tenders for solid waste management will start soon.”

Earlier in November, the corporation had imposed a penalty of around Rs 7.2 lakh — around 20 per cent of the Rs 36-lakh transportation bill submitted by A2Z for September to October — because of poor quality work in several wards.

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